Illinois Reports Confirmed Cases of Drug-Resistant Outbreak Linked to Eyedrops
Illinois is on the list of states experiencing an outbreak of an extensively drug-resistant bacteria strain known as VIM-GES-CRPA, which has recently been confirmed in the state. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are actively investigating the situation, aiming to better understand and contain the outbreak.
The Outbreak Has Been Linked to Eyecare Products
The outbreak has been linked to various types of infections, particularly eye infections, raising concerns among health officials. Through the ongoing investigation, it has been determined that EzriCare Artificial Tears, as well as Delsam Pharma's Artificial Tears and Artificial Ointment, manufactured by Global Pharma, are associated with the outbreak. As a precautionary measure, the CDC and FDA are advising clinicians and patients to discontinue the use of these products immediately.
81 Confirmed Cases Across 18 States
As of the latest update on May 15, 2023, there have been 81 confirmed cases of VIM-GES-CRPA reported across 18 states, including Illinois. This represents an increase of 13 cases since the previous update. It is noteworthy that some patients had tested positive for the outbreak strain even prior to the manufacturer's recall on February 2, 2023. Delays in confirming these cases were primarily due to the time-consuming nature of testing and retrospective reporting.
EzriCare & Delsam Pharma Products Linked to Infections
A significant number of patients who tested positive for the outbreak strain had used EzriCare or had resided in long-term care facilities with known cases. Laboratory testing conducted by the CDC revealed the presence of VIM-GES-CRPA in opened EzriCare bottles from multiple lots. Additionally, unopened bottles of EzriCare Artificial Tears were found to be contaminated with bacteria. Further characterization of the contaminants is currently underway by the FDA.
Symptoms of Exposure
In light of these findings, the CDC urges clinicians to promptly report any cases of carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (CRPA) or VIM-CRPA to the relevant local or state health departments. Patients who have used EzriCare or Delsam Pharma's products and are experiencing symptoms indicative of an eye infection, such as discharge, pain, redness, or blurry vision, are advised to seek immediate medical attention.
Staying informed about the outbreak and adhering to the guidance provided by the CDC and FDA is incredibly important. Individuals who have used the affected products should consult their healthcare providers to discuss alternative treatment options. Adverse events or quality issues related to medications should be reported to the FDA's MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program or directly to the FDA's Consumer Complaint Coordinators.
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