October 5, 2012 — Contaminated epidural steroid injections, which are commonly used to treat back pain in outpatient clinics, have been linked to a deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis. At least 47 have become ill and 5 people have died in 7 states — Florida, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee. Today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a recall of all medicines sold by the New England Compounding Center, where the outbreak originated.
It is likely that the size of the fungal meningitis outbreak will continue to grow. Nearly 20,000 vials of epidural steroid injections were shipped to at least 75 clinics in 23 different states. Meningitis has an incubation period of up to one month, and experts now recommend that anyone who has had an epidural steroid injection in the last few months should be on the lookout for symptoms of meningitis. If symptoms appear, seek emergency medical attention.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is tracking the outbreak. As of today, the total illnesses per state is as follows:
- Florida (2 cases)
- Indiana (3 cases)
- Maryland (2 cases, including 1 death)
- Michigan (4 cases)
- North Carolina (1 case)
- Tennessee (29 cases, including 3 deaths)
- Virginia (6 cases, including 1 death)
The FDA is also warning about the outbreak, and has published a Safety Communication. Investigators from the FDA have tested sealed vials of the epidural steroid injection (methylprednisolone acetate) collected from the New England Compounding Center, and they have found fungal contamination in the samples. As a precautionary measure, the FDA and the company are recalling all medications created at the facility.
Fungal meningitis is a rare, life-threatening disease that occurs when fungal spores contaminate cerebrospinal fluid, causing inflammation of the meninges (the membrane around the spinal cord and brain). The disease is very severe, and patients require hospitalization, intensive care, and administration of powerful intravenous anti-fungal medications. In severe cases, swelling and fluid in the brain can cause permanent neurological impairment or death.
Do I have a Fungal Meningitis Lawsuit?
The Schmidt Firm, PLLC is currently accepting fungal meningitis induced injury cases in all 50 states. If you or somebody you know has been injured by fungal meningitis outbreak from contaminated epidural steroid injections, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation. Please use the form below to contact our Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group or call toll free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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