Health Officials Recall Eye Drops After Linking Them To Drug-Resistant Bacteria Outbreak In 12 US States

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Health officials in the U.S. are recalling a brand of over-the-counter eye drops after linking a series of drug-resistant infections to their use across 12 states.

A health alert went out to doctor’s after eye drops, sold under the name EzriCare Artificial Tears, were linked to varying types of drug-resistant infections in 55 people in 12 states, The Associated Press reported Thursday. The infections were detected in the blood, urine and lungs of some patients and in at least five cases caused permanent vision loss. One case, that of a blood infection, resulted in death, the outlet reported.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials explained that since the eye is connected to the nasal cavity and to the tear ducts, bacteria can move from the nasal cavity to the lungs. Bacteria in the lungs can enter the bloodstream, spreading the infection. (RELATED: Woman Accused Of Stealing $130,000 From Friend After Allegedly Murdering Her With Eye Drop Solution)

The drops, used to lubricate dry and irritated eyes, were manufactured in India by Global Pharma Healthcare and have been recalled along with another product, Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears, the AP reported. The bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa was reportedly detected in open bottles of EzriCare Artificial Tears, but investigators are still performing tests.

Pseudomonas is a bacteria commonly found in the environment but Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a type that most typically causes infections in humans, according to the CDC. Health investigators have found that the bacteria has become increasingly resistant to standard antibiotics, though they state a newer antibiotic named cefiderocol appeared to be effective against it, the AP reported.

The patients affected as of Thursday reside in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.