New Superbug Outbreak Spreads from Eye drops to Dogs, 2 being treated for Infection

Eye drops

An alarming outbreak of a superbug, initially linked to contaminated human eye drops and resulting in a fatality in the UK earlier this month, has now extended to dogs in the United States. At least two cases have been reported in New Jersey, where dogs were treated for the infection following a product recall.

These dogs were found to be infected with carbapenemase-producing carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the same bacteria associated with an outbreak involving 27 different eye drop brands. These products were recalled by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last year after the bacteria caused the deaths of four individuals in the US.

The affected dogs, from different owners, received treatment at an animal hospital in New Jersey after the bacteria was discovered in their lungs and ears. Genetic testing conducted by the CDC on the bacterial strain from the pets confirmed its “highly genetic relatedness” to the strain involved in last year’s outbreak, according to a CBS News report.

The outbreak has had devastating consequences, with 81 individuals in 18 states falling critically ill, resulting in four deaths and 14 others losing their vision completely. In one particularly distressing case, a patient had to undergo eye removal surgery to stop the infection’s progression. Emma Price, from the CDC team, issued a stark warning at the CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service conference on Friday, stating, “So, now that this bacteria has been introduced into the U.S. from the artificial tears, this resistance could spread,” according to sources.

The bacteria’s threat lies in its ability to break down carbapenem antibiotics, crucial for treating severe infections when other drugs fail. There is concern that if the bacteria spreads, it could transfer its drug-resistant traits to other pathogens, potentially complicating the treatment of many otherwise treatable illnesses. Health officials are increasingly alarmed following recent CDC findings regarding infected dogs. Price reported that one dog was swabbed at an animal hospital while being examined for a persistent cough, and another dog was repeatedly seen by veterinarians due to a severe, recurring ear infection.

Both dogs’ samples were analyzed by an academic veterinary lab in Pennsylvania, as reported by CBS News. The lab’s findings were so concerning that it alerted the CDC, prompting state health officials to launch an investigation into the matter. Price emphasized in Friday’s conference, “Because they had a grant and a veterinary microbiologist works there, he did his great due diligence and uploaded the results. That’s how we got the notification because the strain matched the outbreak strain.”

Read More: Click Here