Some eye drops – EzriCare or Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears products – to be specific, have been withdrawn after being connected to bacterial infections that caused deaths and the removal of eyeballs.

A 16-state outbreak of drug-resistant bacteria related to eye drops is being looked into by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and FDA. Up until this point, no reports of this type had been made in the US.

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Pseudomonas aeruginosa

The CDC reported Tuesday that two more Pseudomonas aeruginosa-related deaths have been added to the outbreak of highly drug-resistant bacteria connected to recalled eye drops.

The common rod-shaped, gram-negative, aerobic-facultatively anaerobic bacterium called Pseudomonas aeruginosa can harm both plants and animals, including people.

Eye ball removal, vision loss and death toll

Out of 68 patients with the bacteria found across 16 states, eight people have lost their vision, and four have had their eyeballs removed, according to the CDC’s most recent report. A man from Washington state had earlier been reported as having died.

As health authorities scrambled to look into the outbreak suspected to be connected to opened eye drops purchased online, in stores, and through ophthalmologist offices, a total of three eye products — all imported from Indian company Global Pharma Healthcare Private Limited — were recalled.

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In recent weeks, two eye products made by different manufacturers have also been recalled due to unrelated contamination issues.

The outbreak’s Pseudomonas aeruginosa type is extremely uncommon and has never before been observed in the United States. Due to the fact that it has become resistant to a dozen various antibiotics, treating it is particularly difficult for doctors.

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The CDC reports that researchers at the University of California, San Diego, have found a bacteriophage that may be able to cure the highly drug-resistant bacteria, which coincides with news of the outbreak’s rising death toll.

The university’s Center for Innovative Phage Applications and Therapeutics has previously praised the “phage” treatments it created to treat patients with infections brought on by bacteria with medication resistance.

These treatments work by employing viruses that target bacteria in an effort to combat infections that conventional antibiotics are unable to eradicate.