Last Updated: Feb 10, 2023

For the first time, an extremely drug-resistant strain of bacteria is currently spreading in the United States and leading to an alarming outbreak that has been linked to artificial tears lubricant eye drops. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently issued an alert to healthcare providers. As per the report, the germ has infected nearly 55 people in 12 states and led to 1 death. Several other people have been hospitalized while five people have been diagnosed with permanent vision loss. The majority of people have been hospitalized after using EzriCare Artificial Tears, which is a preservative-free drug sold by Amazon, Walmart, and other sellers. However, people who have been infected with the drug-resistant bacteria have been using over 10 brands of artificial tears while some infected people have been using multiple brands. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has said that Global Pharma Healthcare has announced a recall of its Artificial Tears Lubricant Eye Drops that are sold by the brand names EzriCare and Delsam Pharma suspecting possible contamination after an alert has been issued by the federal health agency. Health experts from the FDA have said that people should stop using these eye drops and in case, they notice any adverse reactions, they should immediately inform the FDA. These eye drops are sold online across the US in multi-dose jars. The CDC has stated that the federal health agency has received multiple reports of cornea infections, infections of the intraocular fluids, respiratory tract, and urinary tract infections, and sepsis. As per the experts, the main reason behind the infectious outbreak is a strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which is an exceptionally adaptable, genetically drug-resistant bacterium that is found in the surroundings, specifically in freshwater.

Strains of P. aeruginosa can cause multiple skin wounds, skin burns, and lung, & systemic infections as well. People who have compromised immune systems and people who deal with cystic fibrosis are at a higher risk of contracting infections caused by this germ. This bacterium can lead to outbreaks in healthcare settings and specifically affect people with indwelling devices, such as catheters and breathing tubes. In healthcare settings, the strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa can be found in sinks, device washers, icemakers, soap bars, and respiratory therapy tools. In the recent outbreak, around 35 out of the 55 infected people have been linked to four clusters of cases originating from healthcare facilities. The EzriCare Artificial Tears eye drop has been found to be the only common link in those four healthcare-linked clusters. The investigators from the CDC have found the outbreak P. aeruginosa strain in opened vessels of EzriCare Artificial Tears bottles, which have been produced in different batches. These eye drops do not contain preservatives, therefore, they do not contain ingredients to avert bacterial growth. Experts have said that though multi-drug resistant P. aeruginosa strains have been a cause of concern in the United States and around the world, this is the first time VIM-GES-CRPA has been found circulating in the country. Experts from the CDC have claimed that the currently spreading strain of P. aeruginosa is resilient to multiple antibiotic drugs such as ceftazidime, aztreonam, piperacillin-tazobactam, cefepime, carbapenems, ceftazidime-avibactam, fluoroquinolones, ceftolozane-tazobactam, polymyxins, amikacin, tobramycin, and gentamicin. They have said that antibiotic susceptibility testing on three outbreaks shows that the VIM-GES-CRPA strain is still vulnerable to cefiderocol. Cefiderocol is a new antibiotic drug that was granted approval by the FDA in 2019. It is used to cure multidrug-resistant urinary tract infections.

The cases of P. aeruginosa have surfaced in 12 states such as Colorado, Florida, Connecticut, California, New Mexico, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, Utah, Texas, Wisconsin, and Washington. The officials of EzriCare have said that they are cooperating with the CDC and FDA to carry out investigations into the outbreak. However, they have claimed that they are not aware of any testing that conclusively associated the Pseudomonas aeruginosa outbreak with EzriCare Artificial Tears. As of now along with the recall of the product, the company has haled the further distribution or sale of EzriCare Artificial Tears. The company officials have been advising customers against further use of their product. EzriCare officials have said that the company has limited involvement with the artificial tears product, which is sold under many other brand names. They have said that the company has only introduced the product in the US and the firm is only responsible for designing an exterior label for the product. India-based Global Pharma Healthcare PVT Limited has manufactured the product and it has been imported into the US by Aru Pharma Inc. Healthcare experts have said that infections caused by strains of P. aeruginosa are quite hard to treat due to their resistance to antibiotic drugs. In 2017, the bacteria led to more than 32000 infections among hospitalized patients and caused nearly 2700 fatalities in the US.


Devoted my whole life to words - reading, writing and trying to be original on social media. Got certified in digital marketing - still not cool enough to be an influencer. Finished a master’s degree focused in Literature, Publishing, Mass Media. Hobbies include traveling, reading and hoping that yoga will be the thing to finally teach me some patience. Would like to take over the world at some point, but that’s an optional dream. Maybe modern tech can help me do that?