A fatal fungal meningitis outbreak has recently occurred and linked to a compounding pharmacy. At the time of this article, the death toll has reached 14 people and 170 people have been diagnosed infected with rare fungal meningitis.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this outbreak has been linked to contaminated pain injections. In this case, the pharmacy involved made small batches of medication to be injected into the spine to alleviate pain. However, this steroid was made without a preservative.
These contaminated pain injections are from one pharmacy in Framingham, Mass., the New England Compounding Center. According to media reports, this pharmacy and Ameridose, its sister pharmacy, have closed. Federal health authorities have reported that this pharmacy has recalled all of its drugs, even though the contaminated product is one drug called methylprednilosone, an injectable steroid.
The CDC has received reports of cases of fungal infection in 11 states including Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia.
The CDC is also warning the public that as many as 13,000 people were given the injections that contain the contaminated steroid. The people who have had pain injections into the spine need to be careful and watch for any symptoms including:
- Ill feeling
- Back pain
- Stiff neck
- Sensitivity to light
- Redness or swelling in the injection site
- Slurred speech
The CDC is urging anyone who has any of these symptoms, even if they are mild symptoms, and they have been injected with this medication since May 21, 2012, should seek medical attention immediately. These symptoms can be subtle and difficult to detect right away, which is why the CDC believes more people will be infected.
The pharmacy malpractice lawyers at Kennedy Hodges will continue to follow this outbreak and report on any new developments.