Meningitis outbreak linked to steroid injections

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The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue to investigate the ongoing outbreak of fungal meningitis that has infected at least 121 people in 10 states, including Ohio. Health authorities have confirmed the deaths of 12 of the victims.  In a statement released on October 5, the FDA stated that they are “working closely with the CDC and state partners to investigate an outbreak of meningitis among patients who had received an epidural steroid injection.”

The meningitis outbreak has been traced to an injectable preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate produced by The New England Compounding Center. The defective steroid was given as an injection to patients suffering from back pain.  As many as 13,000 people received the injections.  Ohio health officials have confirmed that the recalled product was used at four Ohio health facilities in Cincinnati, Marion, and Dublin.

The New England Compounding Center voluntarily suspended operations after the initial recall was announced in late September of this year.  The company has now expanded the recall to include all products that are currently in circulation. Health professionals have been advised by the FDA and CDC to not use any product distributed by the New England Compounding Center.

Meningitis is a swelling of the protective membranes of the brain.  Fungal meningitis–the type caused by the defective steroid injections–is not contagious.  Symptoms include fever, stiff neck, headache, sensitivity to light, and slurred speech.  Patients generally developed symptoms of fungal meningitis 1-4 weeks following their injection.  Individuals who received injections after May 21, 2012 are advised to contact their physician if they develop any meningitis symptoms.

For more information, contact the Ohio personal injury lawyers at Clark, Perdue & List.

Source: Fox News, “Meningitis outbreak death toll rises to 12, with 121 cases reported,” October 10, 2012.