The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported a fourth death linked to Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a drug-resistant strain of bacteria that has been found in artificial tears or eye drops.
According to the CDC, 81 people have been found to have the infection which is believed to have come from more than 10 different brands of ophthalmic drugs.
Most patients who have been diagnosed with the infection report using artificial tears prior to the diagnosis.
The brand where the infection has been found most often is Ezri Care Artificial Tears, according to the CDC. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned consumers to stop using the drops in February.
According to the FDA, the parent company for Ezri products, Global Pharma Healthcare, failed to provide appropriate microbial testing of its over-the-counter eye drop products.
The infections have been identified in 18 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.
According to the CDC’s latest update, common symptoms of the bacterial infection include discharge from the eye, redness of the eye or eyelid, blurry vision, sensitivity to light and eye pain.
In the cases of the four deaths, the infection apparently spread to other parts of the body, including the bloodstream.
At least 14 others have experienced vision loss and four have had to have an eyeball removed.