Four others had to have their eyeballs surgically removed, while eight others went blind. In total, the CDC identified 68 victims across 16 different states. The cases were linked to India-based EzriCare and Delsam Pharma’s Artificial Tears products, which have been recalled. Altogether, 10 brands were recalled in connection with the infections, though cases were only directly linked with the two brands.
Previously, only one death was recorded due to the infection, in the state of Washington. The CDC announced the newest two fatalities in a Tuesday update, though didn’t give details on the victims.
The contamination was first identified in January when a drug-resistant strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa was discovered in patients, a rare bacterial superbug that has never been seen in the U.S. before. Eye drop use was quickly identified as the common link between them.
Global Pharma Healthcare, the company that manufactures the eye drops identified as being linked to the infections, issued a voluntary recall on Feb. 2.
Symptoms from the infection include discharge from the eyes, pain in the eyes, a foreign body sensation, blurry vision, and increased sensitivity to light.
The eye drops were over-the-counter and didn’t require a prescription, being supplied by retailers such as Walmart, CVS, Target, and Amazon, according to the Daily Mail.