On Tuesday, October 09, 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported an increase in the number of confirmed cases of fungal meningitis and deaths linked to contaminated vials of an injectable steroid medication. The CDC’s website states there are 119 confirmed cases of fungal meningitis and 11 deaths across 10 states that received the recalled epidural steroid injections manufactured by the New England Compounding Center. New cases are being reported daily.
The steroid, also known as methylprednisolone acetate, is primarily used for pain management in patients with lower back pain. The medication is administered via injection into the spinal cord. The CDC has reported that contaminated lots of the steroid were recalled on September 26, 2012 and that affected vials could have been administered to patients as early as May 21, 2012.
Symptoms of fungal meningitis include fever, new or worsening headache, neck stiffness, sensitivity to light, new weakness or numbness, increasing pain, and redness, pain, or swelling at the injection site. Patients who have received the steroid injection and are experiencing any of these symptoms are urged to seek immediate medical attention. The CDC does note that while some forms of meningitis are contagious, fungal meningitis is not contagious.
Meningitis is a serious inflammation of the spinal cord and the membranes that cover the brain. Swelling of these membranes can cause severe pressure on the brain and affect the central nervous system, which is responsible for regulating heartbeat and breathing. If not properly treated, meningitis can be fatal. Treatment and recovery from meningitis can last anywhere between 2 weeks to several months.
If you or someone you care about received an epidural steroid injection and has contracted fungal meningitis or a serious injury, contact us. Our personal injury product liability attorneys have experience handling cases involving dangerous drugs and defective medical devices. It is important for you to understand your legal rights and options and get compensation for your injuries. The initial consultation is free of charge and no legal fees will be collected unless your claim is paid.