Multiple Deaths Reported in Nationwide Meningitis Outbreak

The death toll continues rise from an outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to contaminated steroid injections, CNN reports. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has said that upwards of 90 cases in nine states have been reported after patients’ spines were injected with a preservative-free steroid called methylprednisolone acetate reportedly contaminated by an unknown fungus. The drug is designed to help with pain and inflammation. Officials say 76 medical facilities in 23 states received the contaminated injections. The CDC has said as many as seven deaths have been reported.  

The Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center (NECC) voluntarily recalled multiple shipments of the steroid, as well as other nationwide products as a precaution. At this time, there is no reason to believe other NECC products are contaminated. The pharmacy has voluntarily suspended its license to operate until the FDA can complete its investigation. Last week, health inspectors at the NECC plant found “foreign particles in unopened vials” and testing showed that fungi were present. Tennessee is reporting the most cases but contaminated NECC products were found in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Nevada, and Texas, among a few others.

According to RT News, meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord as a result of infection. Swelling is a primary symptom as well as headache, fever, and stiff neck in anyone over 12-years-old. The disease may heal on its own within a few weeks or become life-threatening.