Fungal Meningitis Outbreak
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are currently investigating a multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis affecting patients who received contaminated batches of epidural steroid injections in their spines. Multiple deaths have been attributed to the outbreak, and the number of infected patients continues to grow.
Meningitis is an infection causing inflammation of the brain and spinal cord’s protective membranes. Fungal meningitis has a lengthy incubation period, meaning it can take up to a month for symptoms to develop.
The steroid, methylprednisolone acetate, has been traced to a compounding pharmacy called the New England Compounding Center (NECC). Compounding pharmacies typically mix custom medications for various medical applications. These facilities are currently not regulated as closely as drug manufacturers, nor are their products subject to FDA approval.
Who is affected by the outbreak?
At this time, it is believed as many as 13,000 patients may have been exposed to the contaminated drugs. The contaminated steroid injections were given starting May 21, 2012. Because it can take up to four weeks for symptoms to develop, many experts feel the number of affected patients will continue to grow.
Officials state NECC shipped three lots of the contaminated steroids to 75 medical facilities in 23 states, with some states currently reporting dozens of fungal meningitis infections.
I’ve recently received an epidural steroid injection, what should I do?
Contact the facility where you received the injection as soon as possible. The CDC has compiled a list of facilities that received recalled lots of methylprednisolone acetate from NECC.
Certain medical facilities known to be affected by the contaminated drugs have been contacting patients if they received a potentially contaminated injection. Some of these facilities are screening patients to see whether or not they received tainted injections.
What are the symptoms of fungal meningitis?
Some of the symptoms of fungal meningitis include:
- stiff neck,
- difficulty balancing,
- and sensitivity to light.
An infected person may not experience all of these symptoms, which may develop gradually over a period of time. If you have recently received an epidural steroid injection and you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your physician immediately.
Is fungal meningitis contagious?
This particular outbreak of fungal meningitis is not contagious.
What should I do if I’ve been diagnosed with fungal meningitis?
If you’ve been diagnosed with fungal meningitis or someone you love has been diagnosed or died from fungal meningitis following an epidural steroid shot, a personal injury lawyer may be able to help. You could be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and future expenses. Contact our legal staff today to get the legal help you deserve.