India-made eye drops linked to outbreak of rare strain in US

Context: The EzriCare Artificial Tears, over-the-counter eye drops manufactured by Chennai-based Global Pharma Healthcare, is at the centre of a United States investigation into a multistate outbreak of an extensively drug-resistant bacterium strain associated with multiple types of infections including eye infections in the United States.

Major Highlights

  • The outbreak strain — VIM-GES-CRPA is a rare strain of the extensively drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterium which has never been reported before in the US  —detected in 68 cases from 16 states. 
  • The organism appears to have spread via a contaminated point source (eye drops) with possible secondary transmission among contacts in some healthcare settings. 

About Pseudomonas aeruginosa

  • Pseudomonas is a bacteria that can be found in the environment, including in water and soil. There are multiple types of Pseudomonas – Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes the most infections in humans.
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa can spread to people through contaminated surfaces, equipment, water and more. The bacteria can cause infections in the lungs, blood and other parts of the body. The bacteria could melt through the eye up to the cornea into the bloodstream pretty quickly.

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