Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Meningitis Outbreak: 424 Cases, 31 Deaths

The current outbreak of fungal meningitis has sickened 424, 414 of those have joint infections, and have taken the life of 31 patients. Fungal meningitis is being linked to contaminated steroids that came from a compounding pharmacy in Framingham, Massachusetts. The New England Compounding Center is responsible for shipping out around 17,000 vials of methylprednisolone acetate, steroids injected for back pain. It is not sure how the fungus got into the sterile vials but it is believed that 14,000 patients could have been exposed to the fungus.

The New England Compounding Center, along with its sister company, Ameridose, have both recalled all of their products. They have also stopped production while investigations are taking place. A congressional hearing is scheduled for November 14, 2012.

Fungal meningitis affects the membranous lining of the brain and the spinal cord. Symptoms occur one to four weeks after receiving an injection of the tainted steroids. They appear milder than the other types of meningitis and include fever, headache, pain and swelling at the site of the injection, stiff neck, nausea and vomiting, weakness, numbness, vision changes and slurred speech. Patients are also at risk for peripheral joint damage if they received the injections in their joints, knees and shoulders. It can cause long term joint damage and even create the need for joint replacement surgery.

Officials are encouraging anyone who received an injection at one of the offices or clinics that received a shipment of steroids from the New England Compounding Center to get into contact with their health care provider.

View the full article here. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/meningitis-outbreak-424-cases-31-deaths/story?id=17666440

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