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Entries in Cases (4)

Friday
Nov022012

Meningitis Outbreak: 404 Cases, 29 Deaths

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- Eighteen more people have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis in an outbreak linked to tainted steroid injections, health officials reported Friday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention increased the tally of cases to 404 in 19 states: 395 cases of fungal meningitis and nine joint infections. At least 29 people have died.

For a map of cases by state, click here.


The outbreak has been linked to contaminated vials of methylprednisolone acetate, an injectable steroid used to treat back and joint pain. Sealed vials of the steroid, made by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., contained exserohilum rostratum, a fungus found in soil and plants.

For a full list of clinics receiving the recalled lots of spinal steroid injections, click here.


It's not clear how the fungus landed in the pharmacy's ostensibly sterile vials, some of which were shipped to clinics without sterility testing, according to an inspection by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Floor mats near sterile drug-mixing areas were "visibly soiled with assorted debris," and a leak from a nearby boiler created an "environment susceptible to contaminant growth," according to the report.

Sealed vials of two other drugs made by the pharmacy contained bacteria, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The drugs were the steroid betamethasone and a cardioplegic solution that paralyzes the heart during open heart surgery.

The pharmacy has recalled all of its products and shut down operations.

Ameridose, a sister company of the New England Compounding Center, has also recalled all of its drugs citing sterility concerns, according to the FDA. Neither Ameridose nor the FDA have received any complaints or identified any impurities in those drugs.

Meningitis affects the membranous lining of the brain and spinal cord. Early symptoms of fungal meningitis -- including headache, fever, dizziness, nausea, sensitivity to light, stiff neck, weakness or numbness, slurred speech and pain, and redness or swelling at the injection site -- can take more than a month to appear.

The longest duration from the time of injection to the onset of symptoms in the current outbreak is 42 days, according to the CDC. The tainted steroids were recalled 37 days ago.

Fungal meningitis is diagnosed through a spinal tap, which draws cerebrospinal fluid from the spine that can be inspected for signs of the disease. Once detected, it can be treated with high doses of intravenous antifungal medications.

Unlike bacterial meningitis, fungal meningitis is not transmitted from person to person and only people who received the steroid injections are thought to be at risk.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov012012

Meningitis Outbreak Still Grows: 386 Cases, 28 Deaths

Hemera/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- Nine more people have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis in an outbreak linked to tainted steroid injections, health officials reported Thursday.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has increased the tally of cases to 386 in 19 states: 377 cases of fungal meningitis and nine joint infections. The agency also dropped the death toll for the outbreak from 29 to 28, noting that Virginia is now reporting two deaths instead of three.

For a map of cases by state, click here.

The outbreak has been linked to contaminated vials of methylprednisolone acetate, an injectable steroid used to treat back and joint pain. Sealed vials of the steroid, made by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., contained exserohilum rostratum, a fungus found in soil and plants.

For a full list of clinics receiving the recalled lots of spinal steroid injections, click here.

It's not clear how the fungus landed in the pharmacy's ostensibly sterile vials, some of which were shipped to clinics without sterility testing, according to an inspection by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Floor mats near sterile drug-mixing areas were "visibly soiled with assorted debris," and a leak from a nearby boiler created an "environment susceptible to contaminant growth," according to the report.

Sealed vials of two other drugs made by the pharmacy contained bacteria, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported today. The drugs were the steroid betamethasone and a cardioplegic solution that paralyzes the heart during open heart surgery.

The pharmacy has recalled all of its products and shut down operations.

Ameridose, a sister company of the New England Compounding Center, also recalled all drugs Wednesday, citing sterility concerns, according to the FDA. Neither Ameridose nor the FDA have received any complaints or identified any impurities in those drugs.

Meningitis affects the membranous lining of the brain and spinal cord. Early symptoms of fungal meningitis -- including headache, fever, dizziness, nausea, sensitivity to light, stiff neck, weakness or numbness, slurred speech and pain, and redness or swelling at the injection site -- can take more than a month to appear.

The longest duration from the time of injection to the onset of symptoms in the current outbreak is six weeks, according to the CDC. The tainted steroids were recalled five weeks ago.

Fungal meningitis is diagnosed through a spinal tap, which draws cerebrospinal fluid from the spine that can be inspected for signs of the disease. Once detected, it can be treated with high doses of intravenous antifungal medications.

Unlike bacterial meningitis, fungal meningitis is not transmitted from person to person and only people who received the steroid injections are thought to be at risk.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct192012

Meningitis Outbreak: 271 Cases, 21 Deaths

Hemera/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- One more person has died from fungal meningitis linked to tainted steroid injections, raising the death toll for the outbreak to 21.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has increased the tally of cases to 271 -- 268 cases of fungal meningitis and three cases of joint infections. The growing outbreak, which spans 16 states, has been linked to contaminated vials of methylprednisolone acetate, an injectable steroid used to treat back and joint pain.

For a map of cases by state, click here.


Sealed vials of the steroid, made by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., contained Exserohilum rostratum, a fungus found in soil and plants. It's unclear how the fungus landed in the sealed vials.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed 26 cases of Exserohilum meningitis, as well as one case each of Aspergillus and Cladosporium meningitis.

The New England Compounding Center has recalled all its products and shut down operations. Calls to the owners were not immediately returned.

As many as 14,000 patients are thought to have received injections of the suspect steroid.

Seventy-six clinics in 23 states that received methylprednisolone acetate from the recalled lots have been instructed to notify all affected patients. The "potentially contaminated injections were given starting May 21, 2012," according to the CDC.

For a full list of clinics receiving the recalled lots of spinal steroid injections, click here.

Meningitis affects the membranous lining of the brain and spinal cord. Early symptoms of fungal meningitis -- including headache, fever, dizziness, nausea, sensitivity to light, stiff neck, weakness or numbness, slurred speech and pain, and redness or swelling at the injection site -- can take more than a month to appear.

The longest duration from the time of injection to the onset of symptoms in the current outbreak is 42 days, according to the CDC's Dr. Benjamin Park.

"But we want to emphasize that we don't know what the longest will be," he added, stressing that patients who received injections of the recalled drug should stay attuned to the subtle symptoms "for months."

Fungal meningitis is diagnosed through a spinal tap, which draws cerebrospinal fluid from the spine that can be inspected for signs of the disease. Once detected, it can be treated with high doses of intravenous antifungal medications.

Unlike bacterial meningitis, fungal meningitis is not transmitted from person to person and only people who received the steroid injections are thought to be at risk.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct172012

Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Claims Four More Lives; 245 Cases Reported

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- The national meningitis outbreak continues to spread as health officials say the infection has killed four more people in Tennessee, Florida and Virginia.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are now reporting 19 people dead and 245 cases of infection from fungal meningitis tied to contaminated back pain steroid injections.

[See a map of cases by state]

The government is asking doctors to tell patients if they received the medication from the New England Compounding Center.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio