1 dead, others blinded from eye drops tainted with drug-resistant bacteria in NY, NJ

Photo credit EzriCare

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — One person died and others were blinded after using eye drops tainted with a rare strain of bacteria that has become resistant to most antibiotics, the CDC announced Wednesday.

The outbreak has impacted at least 55 patients across 12 states so far, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a bacteria usually found in freshwater or soil. Eye infections from the bacteria usually occur when people wear contact lenses for too long, but the CDC found the dangerous bacteria in 10 different brands of eye drops.

The CDC said the strain can still be controlled with the antibiotic cefiderocol, but a dozen other drugs have no impact.

The most prominent brand of eye drops linked to infection were EzriCare Artificial Tears.

Between May 2022 and January 2023, the CDC identified 55 patients impacted by the outbreak across New York, New Jersey, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

The patients suffered from cornea infections that caused permanent vision loss and one death.

EzriCare is contacting customers to advise them not to use its product, but company and federal officials stopped short of recalling the eye drops.

Featured Image Photo Credit: EzriCare