Vietnam's Ministry of Health on Monday ordered the withdrawal of an Indian dye used in eye surgeries after several post-surgery critical infection cases were reported in various localities.
The ministry also asked the importer Viet My Medical Technical Equipment Company to suspend the import of Khosla Company's Trypan Blue, suspected of causing infection in patients who recently underwent cataract surgeries, until the ministry came to an official conclusion.
Last week, Ho Chi Minh City's health department ordered doctors offering eye surgery at local hospitals to stop using the dye, which identifies live cells during surgery, after agencies found Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a toxic bacterium, in Trypan Blue's batch SV 9025.
The batch was used at HCMC Ophthalmology Hospital, where 22 patients suffered critical infections after Phacomemulsification a kind of cataract surgery between May 17-25.
The patients were found to have an eye infection caused by Pseudomonas, a genus that includes Pseudomonas aeruginosa, according to Lam Kim Phung, vice director of the hospital.
Because the bacteria are highly toxic and resistant to most available antibiotics, so far only seven of them have recovered, while others are at risk of becoming blind, she said.
The central highlands province of Lam Dong also reported two cases, while the southern provinces of Dong Nai and An Giang reported seven and three cases respectively.
All the surgeries had used Khosla's Trypan Blue, though from different batches, Thanh Nien reporters found out.
Viet My Company said it had imported 350 vials of Trypan Blue, 232 of which have been distributed to health clinics.
More samples have been sent to Pasteur Institute and HCMC Institute of Drugs Testing for further tests.
The health ministry's Medical Management Board Deputy Head Luong Ngoc Khue said once it's confirmed that Trypan Blue was the cause, the supplier will be held responsible.