The CT Department of Public Health is reporting that there are now 25 people in the state with a rare bacteria that's linked to contaminated eyedrops, which has caused three deaths and forced multiple others to have their eyeballs removed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the increase in cases Thursday. Before the CDC reported an increase in cases, Connecticut had one case of the rare bacteria.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria, commonly found in water and soil and on the hands of otherwise healthy people, has been found in 68 patients across 16 states.
The CDC confirmed that all patients have used a variety of eyedrops before noticing symptoms, forcing a recall of three brands -- EzriCare Artificial Tears, Delsam Pharma's Artificial Tears and Delsam's Artificial Eye Ointment.
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The state DPH is urging people to stop using the eye drops after being linked to an outbreak of drug-resistant infections.
Patients have elected to undergo corneal transplants, while at least eight have lost vision in one of their eyes, according to the CDC.
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Most patients became ill before the agency first alerted the public to the potential danger in a statement Jan. 20, a CDC spokesperson said by email.
Because of the time it takes to test samples from patients to see whether they match the strain associated with the outbreak, the CDC expects more cases will come to light.
People who have used EzriCare Artificial Tears and have signs or symptoms of an eye infection should seek medical care, according to DPH.
Those symptoms include:
- Discharge from the eye
- Eye pain or discomfort
- Redness of the eye or eyelid
- Feeling of something in the eye
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Blurry vision