Womenz Magazine

Four are dead, 14 are blind, and 4 have eyeballs removed from using contaminated eye drops

Listeria outbreak
SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

The number of people infected with a deadly strain of bacteria linked to contaminated eye drops has now reached 81, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The outbreak has also claimed four lives and left 14 people blind in one or both eyes.

The bacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, is a common bacterium found in soil and water. It can cause a variety of infections, including pneumonia, blood infections, and eye infections. However, the strain of the bacteria linked to the outbreak is extremely drug-resistant, making it difficult to treat.

The outbreak began in May 2022, when several people in the United States began to report severe eye infections after using over-the-counter eye drops. The CDC eventually traced the infections back to a single batch of eye drops manufactured in India. The batch was recalled in February 2023, but the outbreak has continued to grow.

In addition to eye drops, the bacteria has also been found in long-term care facilities, where it has been spreading from person to person. This has raised concerns that the bacteria could become a major public health threat.

The CDC is urging anyone who has used eye drops and is experiencing symptoms of an infection to seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms of an eye infection can include:

  • Yellow, green, or clear discharge from the eye
  • Eye pain or discomfort
  • Redness of the eye or eyelid
  • The feeling of something in your eye (foreign body sensation)
  • Increased sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision

There is no cure for the bacteria, but it can be treated with antibiotics. However, the bacteria are so drug-resistant that treatment may not be effective. In some cases, the only way to treat the infection is to remove the eye.

The outbreak is a reminder of the dangers of drug-resistant bacteria. As bacteria become more resistant to antibiotics, it will become increasingly difficult to treat infections. This is a serious public health threat that needs to be addressed.

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