The death toll due to an outbreak linked to recalled eye drops that led to vision loss among several people has increased, the US Centers For Disease Control (CDC) issued an update. As on March 21, the US drug regulator informed, two additional deaths – taking the total to three – have been linked to the rare strain of bacteria that caused the infection.
According to the latest update, CDC has identified 68 people in 16 states with infections of the rare strain of drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Three people have died and there have been 8 reports of vision loss and 4 reports of enucleation (surgical removal of eyeball), CDC stated.
Most of these patients reported using artificial tears, the CDC noted, and Chennai-based EzriCare Artificial Tears was the brand most commonly reported.
"Testing of unopened bottles of EzriCare Artificial Tears is ongoing to assist in evaluating for whether contamination may have occurred during manufacturing. Patients and healthcare providers should immediately stop the use of EzriCare Artificial Tears pending additional information and guidance from CDC and FDA," the CDC said.
EzriCare Artificial Tears eye drops are manufactured by Chennai-based Global Pharma Healthcare. The brand came under the CDC scanner last month, while the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it has moved to restrict imports of products made by the company.
Earlier, the company had voluntarily recalled all the lots "within expiry of their Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops, distributed by /EzriCare, LLC- and Delsam Pharma, to the consumer level, due to possible contamination".