At least 23 people had been confirmed dead out of 284 meningitis cases in 16 states as a result of infected steroid medications compounded by the New England Compounding Center (“NECC”). Authorities estimate 14,000 or more patients were exposed to doses from the infected steroid lots. NECC as the compounding center of the steroid medication is now a defendant in a number Florida lawsuits from patients who received steroid injections.
NECC has recalled all its products and shut down operations.
Seventy-six clinics in 23 states, including Florida, received methylprednisolone acetate from the recalled lots have been instructed to notify all affected patients. According to the Center for Disease Control, the contaminated injections were given starting May 21, 2012.
Meningitis affects the membranous lining of the brain and spinal cord. Initial symptoms of fungal meningitis — including headache, fever, dizziness, nausea, sensitivity to light, stiff neck, weakness or numbness, slurred speech and pain, and redness or swelling at the injection site — can take more than a month to appear.
Fungal meningitis is diagnosed through a spinal tap, which draws cerebrospinal fluid from the spine that can be inspected for signs of the disease. Once detected, it can be treated with high doses of intravenous antifungal medications.
Unlike bacterial meningitis, fungal meningitis is not transmitted from person to person and only people who received the steroid injections are thought to be at risk.
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