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Steroid Meningitis Outbreak

Fungal Meningitis Outbreak from Tainted Steroidal Back Injections

A steroidal back injection produced at a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy has been linked to a multi-state fungal meningitis outbreak that has left 39 dead and more than 600 infected in 19 states. The FDA has ordered a recall on all drugs, including the steroidal back injection (Methylprednisolone Acetate), produced at the New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, Massachusetts.

INFORMATION ABOUT THE MENINGITIS OUTBREAK

  • The meningitis outbreak has been linked to three contaminated lots of Methylprednisolone Acetate, an epidural steroid injection.
  • The injections were produced exclusively at New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, Massachusetts.
  • Distribution has been confirmed in 23 states; however, it is possible that products were sent to additional states.
  • As of December 20, 2012, 620 people had been diagnosed with infections related to the recalled shots.
  • A majority of those affected developed signs/symptoms of meningitis after receiving Methylprednisolone Acetate injections in the spine.
  • At least nine people suffered fungal infections related to Methylprednisolone Acetate injected into joints including the ankle.
  • A number of them are now displaying additional serious spinal infections, including epidural abscesses and arachnoiditis.
  • 39 people have died as a result of the outbreak.

FDA ISSUES SAFETY STATEMENTS ON MENINGITIS OUTBREAK

  • On October 6, 2012, the FDA issued a Safety Statement regarding the Fungal Meningitis Outbreak.
    • FDA officials detected fungal infectivity in an unopened vial of methylprednisolone from one of three lots of 80-milligram injection doses recalled by the New England Compounding Center.
    • As a result, the FDA recommended that health care professionals and consumers not use any product that was produced by NECC.
  • On October 15, 2012, the FDA issued an additional Patient Notification Statement regarding the Fungal Meningitis Outbreak.
    • FDA officials warned that an additional NECC product, triamcinolone acetonide, had been linked to a case of fungal meningitis.
    • The FDA is also investigating steroids and drugs from NECC used in eye surgery and heart operations.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT FUNGAL MENINGITIS

Information below provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

  • Fungal meningitis is usually the result of the spread of a fungus through blood to the spinal cord or as a result of the fungus being introduced directly into the central nervous system.
  • Fungal Meningitis is not contagious but can be deadly if not promptly treated.
  • Signs/symptoms can appear anywhere from 14-42 days following steroid injection and may include:
    • Fever
    • Headache
    • Stiff neck
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
    • Altered mental status

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