A nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis tied to a steroid drug has continued to escalate. According to news reports, 12 people have died and 124 people have been sickened as of Oct. 10. Another 13,000 are at risk of falling ill from the tainted drug. The drug is used to treat back pain through an epidural injection and was distributed to clinics in 23 states.
The New England Compounding Center, the maker of the injectable steroid medication, has announced that it has voluntarily recalled all products currently in circulation that were compounded and distributed from its facility in Framingham, Massachusetts.
Ten states have reported at least one illness linked to the medication through epidural injections as of Oct. 10. The states and number of cases are: Florida (4), Indiana (12), Maryland (8), Michigan (25), Minnesota (3), New Jersey (1), North Carolina (2) and Ohio (1), Tennessee (39), Virginia (24).
As of noon on Oct. 10, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported three people in Michigan have died from the illness.
The CDC has identified the following healthcare facilities in Michigan as having received the tainted batch of the recalled drug:
- Michigan Neurosurgical Inst., 810-606-7112, Grand Blanc
- Michigan Pain Specialists, 734-995-7246, Brighton
- Neuromuscular & Rehabilitation, 231-935-0860, Traverse City
- Southeast Michigan Surgical Hospital, 586-427-1000, Warren
The CDC is advising clinicians at each location to proactively contact patients who received injections from the tainted medication. In addition, everyone who received a steroid shot for back pain between July and September 2012 is advised to contact their health care providers immediately. They are at risk for developing meningitis.
Symptoms that should prompt immediate evaluation, according to the CDC, include: fever, new or worsening headache, neck stiffness, sensitivity to light, new weakness or numbness, increasing pain and redness or swelling at injection site. The CDC reports that some of the symptoms of patients who have been diagnosed with meningitis have been mild and not classic for meningitis. It further reports that not everyone who received an injection will become sick.
The CDC defines fungal meningitis as follows:
Fungal meningitis occurs when the protective membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord are infected with a fungus. Fungal meningitis can develop after a fungus spreads through the bloodstream from somewhere else in the body, as a result of the fungus being introduced directly into the central nervous system, or by direct extension from an infected body site next to the central nervous system.
If you have received a steroid injection for back pain since July, our Michigan personal injury attorneys encourage you to act immediately if you begin feeling sick.
Contact the Michigan Medical Malpractice Lawyers at The Michigan Injury Lawyers Today
If you or a family member has been injured by a tainted drug or by another prescription drug error, it is important to talk to an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to understand your legal rights and options.
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