Four die and 4 have eyes removed from rare superbug that can ‘melt’ eyeballs
Four people in the US have died after becoming infected by a rare bacterium that can "melt" through eyeballs.
The drug-resistant strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, has been linked to contaminated batches of eye drops.
Infections have been reported across the US, with the number of confirmed cases known to be at least 81. At least 14 people have lost vision in one or both of their eyes, and four victims have had to have their eyeballs surgically removed to prevent the infection from spreading.
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Pseudomonas is commonly found in soil and water, but can cause severe infection in those who are immune suppressed due to illness or medication.
In 2012 the bacterium claimed the lives of three babies during an outbreak at Belfast’s Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital
Several babies were infected from taps in the neonatal intensive care unit at RJMH during the 2012 outbreak – with devastating consequences for three families.
The World Health Organization issued an alert in March after two types of cancer medication were found to contain life-threatening levels of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
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The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has urged anyone who has used eyedrops or artificial tears from the EzriCare or Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears to contact a doctor if they are experiencing symptoms with their vision.
Some of the symptoms include yellow, green, or clear discharge from the eye, discomfort or pain, redness, blurry vision and increase sensitivity to light.
Clara Oliva, from Florida, is suing the makers of EzriCare Artificial Tears after she was left legally blind after using the products.
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Her lawyer Natasha Cortes said: "My client is horribly injured and now legally blind. I am currently investigating others similarly injured by this recalled product.
"These companies must be held accountable for the devastating consequences their product has caused Ms. Oliva and other consumers.”
According to Statista, a market research firm, eyedrops and eyewash products are used by nearly 17 million Americans.
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