An outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in the United States has caused alarm as it has resulted in the deaths of three individuals and vision loss in eight cases, along with four cases of surgical removal of the eyeball. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is collaborating with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state and local health departments to investigate the outbreak of the bacteria that is widely resistant to drugs.
Identification of Infected Patients
Since last March 14, 68 patients in 16 states across the U.S. have been identified as having been infected with the epidemic Pseudomonas aeruginosa strain. Investigations have shown that the bacterium is resistant to carbapenems (Vim-Ges-Crpa) and had never been reported in the United States before this outbreak. The outbreak has been linked to the use of eye drops, with artificial tears being identified as a possible source of infection for many of those affected.
Sample Collection and Patient Reports
Sample collection dates range from May 2022 to February 2023, with isolates being identified from clinical cultures of sputum or bronchial lavage (15), cornea (17), urine (10), other nonsterile sources (4), and blood (2), and from rectal swabs (26). Patients also reported using more than ten different brands of artificial tears, with some specifying that they used multiple brands. The most commonly reported brand was EzriCare Artificial Tears, an over-the-counter preservative-free product that is packaged in multidose bottles.
Pending further guidance, both the CDC and FDA have recommended that physicians and patients discontinue the use of EzriCare or other Artificial Tears products. The investigation into the outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection is still ongoing, and further updates and recommendations will be provided as more information becomes available. It is important for patients to remain vigilant and to seek medical attention immediately if they experience any symptoms of infection.
The outbreak of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection in the United States has resulted in deaths, vision loss, and surgical removal of the eyeball in some cases. The investigation into the outbreak is ongoing, and it has been linked to the use of eye drops, with artificial tears being identified as a possible source of infection. Patients should discontinue the use of EzriCare or other Artificial Tears products until further guidance is provided by the CDC and FDA. It is important to remain vigilant and to seek medical attention immediately if any symptoms of infection are experienced.