Deaths from Fungal Meningitis found in Steroid Injections Reach 14
October 11, 2012 – As of today the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have reported 14 deaths linked to the outbreak of fungal meningitis from steroid shots. The CDC currently knows about 170 cases across 11 states. Health officials have estimated that 13,000 people may have been exposed to the tainted steroid since May 12, 2012.
States that have reported cases include: Tennessee, Michigan, Virginia, Indiana, Maryland, Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, New Jersey, and Idaho.
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On October 4, 2012 the New England Compounding Center (NECC), a specialty pharmaceutical company, announced a recall on all of it’s products produced at their Framingham, MA facility when the outbreak was linked to their inject-able steroid. All of their operations have also been shut down.
According to ABC News, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) obtained a sealed vial of the drug, methylprednisolone acetate, and confirmed that it contained levels of fungus visible to the naked eye.
According to the CDC, fungal meningitis is rare and usually results from the spread of fungus through blood to the spinal cord. It affects the membranous lining of the brain and spinal cord. Fungal meningitis is not transmitted from person to person and officials believe that only those who received steroid injections are at risk.
Early symptoms may include headache, nausea, fever, dizziness, sensitivity to light, stiff neck, weakness or numbness, slurred speech and pain, redness or swelling at the injection site. These symptoms can take 1 – 4 weeks before they begin to appear. If not treated, this disease can be deadly.