Sat. May 18th, 2024

Superbug Spread by Eyedrops Has Shown Up in 2 Dogs: CDC

Two dogs treated last year in New Jersey have tested positive for a drug-resistant strain of bacteria blamed for a fatal outbreak tied to eyedrops used by people, a CDC investigator reported Friday. The bacteria found—carbapenemase-producing carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa—is “highly genetically related” to the germs linked to the illnesses of 81 people last year in 18 states. In all, 14 patients lost their vision and four died, CBS News reports. “So now that this bacteria has been introduced into the US from the artificial tears, this resistance could spread,” Emma Price said at a conference of the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service.

Health officials worry about the germs that produce carbapenemase because they can break down carbapenem antibiotics. That class of drugs usually is reserved for infections resistant to other treatments; the resistance genes could spread to other pathogens. Swabs from the dogs were sent to a laboratory in Pennsylvania, which noticed unusual signs of resistance in the germs and uploaded the strain’s genetic sequence to a national database. That prompted the CDC and state health authorities to investigate. The FDA warned consumers about the contaminated eyedrops last fall and asked for recalls. (More superbug stories.)

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