The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday that a multi-state bacterial outbreak that likely came from one of two different brands of contaminated eyedrops has injured 68 people, killed three, and blinded eight, since being discovered in February.
The agency said EzriCare and Delsam Pharma's Artificial Tears eyedrop brands were contaminated with "an extensively drug-resistant strain of pseudomonas aerginosa," which, according to the National Library of Medicine, is an opportunistic pathogen.
Both pharmaceutical companies manufacturing the eyedrops recalled their products in February after the CDC and Food and Drug Administration investigators discovered the outbreak, which now includes 16 states.
"FDA is collaborating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local health departments to investigate a multi-state outbreak involving a rare, extensively drug-resistant strain of pseudomonas aerginosa bacteria," the FDA said in a press release at the time.
The joint CDC and FDA alert advised consumers to stop using EzriCare Artificial Tears pending additional guidance, while EzriCare's maker, Global Pharma Healthcare Private Limited, instituted a recall.
The advisory later expanded to include Delsam Pharma's Artificial Tears eyedrops and eye ointment brands, which are sold over the counter, and also made by Global Pharma. They were also recalled.
According to the agencies, the eyedrops appeared to be the common denominator among the victims.
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