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  • 1440 Daily Digest

P. Aeruginosa blamed for 2 more deaths

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed two additional deaths linked to bacteria traced back to contaminated eye drops, bringing the total number of deaths to three, with several more severely injured. At least 68 cases have been identified across 16 states, including eight cases of vision loss and four cases of enucleation—or surgical removal of an eyeball.

A rare strain of highly drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, VIM-GES-CRPA, has previously not been identified in the US and can be found in various environments, including water, soil and human waste. It likely contaminated the eye drops through environmental agents during handling.

The eyedrops recalled include two brands from Global Pharma Healthcare, an India-based manufacturer. While most patients had exposure to the eye drops, some did not, suggesting person-to-person transmission is possible. Researchers at the University of California at San Diego have identified a potential treatment for the bacteria, but no patients have yet received it.

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