On October 6, 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that seven people have died as a result of a fungal meningitis outbreak, and 64 people in 9 U.S. states have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis that are linked to the use of contaminated steroid injections (epidural steroid injections). Those numbers represent an increase of 17 people and 2 more states from just the day before.
The deadly fungal meningitis infections occurred after they were injected in their spines to treat their pain and inflammation with a preservative-free steroid called methylprednisolone acetate that was manufactured by the New England Compounding Pharmacy, Inc. d/b/a New England Compounding Center (NECC) that was contaminated by fungus.
The FDA observed the fungal contamination by direct microscopic examination of foreign matter taken from a sealed vial of methylprednisolone acetate collected from NECC. The FDA is conducting additional microbial testing to confirm the exact species of the fungus. The FDA recommends that health care professionals and consumers not use any product that was produced by NECC at this time and that health care professionals retain and secure all remaining products purchased from NECC until the FDA provides further instructions regarding the disposition of these products.
On October 5, 2012, the CDC issued an update regarding the nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak in which it stated:
As of October 5, a total of 47 cases in 7 states and 5 deaths have been identified with a clinical picture consistent with fungal infection: Florida (2 cases), Indiana (3 cases), Maryland (2 cases, including 1 death), Michigan (4 cases), North Carolina (1 case), Tennessee (29 cases, including 3 deaths), and Virginia (6 cases, including 1 death). Fungus has been identified in specimens obtained from 9 patients, including Aspergillus and Exserohilum …
The 23 states where the contaminated product was shipped are California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, and West Virginia …
“All patients who may have received these medications need to be tracked down immediately. Patients can find the names of the clinics that used these medications on the CDC website,” said Benjamin Park, M.D., medical officer, Mycotic Diseases Branch, CDC. “It is possible that if patients with infection are identified soon and put on appropriate antifungal therapy, lives may be saved.”
Infected patients have developed a variety of symptoms approximately 1 to 4 weeks following their injection, including fever, new or worsening headache, nausea, and new neurological deficit (consistent with deep brain stroke). Some of these patients’ symptoms were very mild in nature. Cerebrospinal fluid obtained from these patients has shown findings consistent with meningitis …
Patients who have had an epidural steroid injection since May 21, 2012, and have any of the following symptoms, should talk to their doctor as soon as possible: worsening headache, fever, sensitivity to light, stiff neck, new weakness or numbness in any part of your body, or slurred speech.
On October 6, 2012, NECC issued a press release in which it stated, “New England Compounding Pharmacy, Inc. d/b/a New England Compounding Center (NECC) today announced a recall of all products currently in circulation that were compounded at and distributed from its facility in Framingham, Massachusetts. This action is being taken out of an abundance of caution due to the potential risk of contamination, and in cooperation with an investigation being conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy. The FDA had previously issued guidance for medical professionals that all products distributed by NECC should be retained and secured. While there is no indication at this time of any contamination in other NECC products, this recall is being taken as a precautionary measure.”
If you or a member of your family have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis after being injected with a steroid or other drug manufactured by NECC, you should promptly contact a medical malpractice attorney in your state to protect your rights.
Click here to visit our website or call us now at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers (drug lawyers) in your state who may be able to assist you with your claim arising out of this recent fungal meningitis outbreak.
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