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

US meningitis death toll rises to 28

Two more patients dead in Michigan and one more in Tennessee bring the death toll from fungal meningitis to 28. 363 have been sickened because of the outbreak; there are 356 total cases of fungal meningitis and seven being blamed on peripheral joint infections. Fungal meningitis is being linked to tainted vials that were shipped to 23 states by a compounding pharmacy out of Framingham, Massachusetts. Of the 23 states that received bad batches of steroids, only four haven't reported any cases.

The New England Compounding Center is being held responsible for distributing three lots, 17,000 vials, of methylprednisolone acetate, injected steroids used for pain. There were reports of a greenish black substance being in the steroids. Some of the patients who received an injection containing the fungus are developing meningitis. They are also at risk for joint problems. The patients who received shots in their shoulders, knees and joints could develop long term issues and possibly a need to have joint replacement surgery. Since the outbreak, the New England Compounding Center has stopped production and recalled of its products while it is being investigated.

Fungal meningitis has symptoms similar to those of other types of meningitis. Those symptoms include nausea and vomiting, pain and swelling at the site of the injection, fever, headache, numbness, weakness, stiff neck, vision changes and slurred speech. Although symptoms are similar to other types of meningitis, fungal meningitis symptoms appear milder at first and take one to four weeks to appear after receiving an injection.

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