This is frightening.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a bacteria that’s commonly found in the environment, for example in soil and water. It can be spread to people in health care settings through contaminated surfaces, hands, and equipment. It can cause serious infections in certain people.
As of March 14, 2023, CDC, in partnership with state and local health departments, identified 68 patients in 16 states (CA, CO, CT, FL, IL, NC, NJ, NM, NY, NV, PA, SD, TX, UT, WA, WI) with VIM-GES-CRPA, a rare strain of extensively drug-resistant P. aeruginosa. Thirty-seven patients were linked to four healthcare facility clusters. Three people have died and there have been 8 reports of vision loss and 4 reports of enucleation (surgical removal of eyeball). Dates of specimen collection were from May 2022 to February 2023. Isolates have been identified from clinical cultures of sputum or bronchial wash (15), cornea (17), urine (10), other nonsterile sources (4), and blood (2), and from rectal swabs (26) collected for surveillance; some patients had specimens collected from more than one anatomic site.
Most patients reported using artificial tears. Patients reported over 10 different brands of artificial tears and some patients used multiple brands. EzriCare Artificial Tears, a preservative-free, over-the-counter product packaged in multidose bottles, was the brand most commonly reported. This was the only common artificial tears product identified across the four healthcare facility clusters. Laboratory testing by CDC identified the presence of VIM-GES-CRPA in opened EzriCare bottles from multiple lots; these bottles were collected from patients with and without eye infections and from two states. VIM-GES-CRPA recovered from opened products match the outbreak strain. 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.
Patients should stop using EzriCare or Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears pending additional information and guidance from CDC and FDA. If patients were advised to use EzriCare or Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears by their healthcare provider, they should follow up with their healthcare provider for recommendations about alternative treatment options.
Patients who have used EzriCare or Delsam Pharma’s artificial tears and who have signs or symptoms of an eye infection should seek medical care immediately. At this time, there is no recommendation for testing of patients who have used this product and who are not experiencing any signs or symptoms of infection.
Eye infection symptoms may include:
- Yellow, green, or clear discharge from the eye
- Eye pain or discomfort
- Redness of the eye or eyelid
- Feeling of something in your eye (foreign body sensation)
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Blurry vision