A drug-resistant strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacteria linked to contaminated eyedrops, has been found to spread from person to person, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This particular strain has been tied to three eye care products produced by Global Pharma in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu: EzriCare Artificial Tears and Delsam’s Artificial Tears and Artificial Eye Ointment. All three products have been recalled.
An outbreak of the bacteria has spread to 16 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.
The outbreak has caused three deaths, eight reports of vision loss and four cases where the surgical removal of the eyeball was needed, according to the CDC.
The bacteria is capable of spreading from person to person, especially in the moisture-rich environments inside many health care facilities.
Global Pharma contended in a February statement that it had “not determined whether our manufacturing facility is the source of the contamination.”
The Food and Drug Administration has imposed a ban on importing Global Pharma products.
Regulators in Tamil Nadu say they found no contamination in samples of unopened eye drops made at the Global Pharma plant.