20 May 2023 | 12:23 p.m
The death toll from contaminated eye drops reaches four despite being recalled in February.
A fourth person has died after using contaminated eye drops and a total of 81[ads1] people have now suffered from infections from the contaminated solution, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.
The alarming update came about two months after the CDC said three people were killed and 68 infected from illnesses linked to over-the-counter eye drops by EzriCare and Delsam Pharma.
The drops were first recalled in February after the product was linked to several infections from a rare strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is resistant to standard antibiotics.
The CDC said all but seven of the new patients were infected before the recall date, but were still awaiting test results to confirm the outbreak.
“Of the 7 patients who had samples taken after the recall, most either lived in long-term care facilities with other known cases or reported using a recalled brand of artificial tears,” the agency said.
In several cases, patients developed ulcers over their corneas, which leaked a yellow discharge before eventually going blind.
Fourteen people have lost some of all vision in their eyes, the CDC said.
At least four more cases were so severe that the patients had to have surgery to remove their eyeballs.
Opened bottles of EzriCare artificial tears used by patients were found to have the bacteria inside shortly before the recall, but the Food and Drug Administration definitively traced the outbreak to the product after finding the bacteria inside unopened bottles of the product, according to the CDC.
Several people who have been infected by the drops are suing Global Pharma, the India-based manufacturer where the bacterial outbreak originated.
Cases have been reported in 18 states – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.