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Meningitis Outbreak Gets Worse

The fungal meningitis outbreak worsened recently, with 233 people reportedly contracting the rare strain of meningitis and 15 deaths occurring in 15 states, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported recently. Two others who fell ill and who were given the medication were found to have infections of peripheral joints. The outbreak has been linked to steroid medication vials that may have been contaminated with the fungus. The vials were distributed to 76 medical facilities in 23 states.

The new incidence of fungal meningitis outbreaks occurred in Tennessee (hardest hit with 53 meningitis cases and 6 deaths), Florida, Indiana, and New Hampshire. The second hardest hit state is Michigan (41 cases, three deaths), followed by Virginia (34 cases, one death). Multiple investigations are ongoing as the outbreak continues to spread. The contaminated vials were distributed by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) which has since suspended operations and recalled its products.

NECC is engaged in drug compounding, a practice that does not fall under Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. The FDA responsibility is to oversee the work of drug makers. Compounding involves the preparation of specific doses of medications that are approved and prepared under the guidance of a doctor to meet the needs of an individual patient.

However, Reuters reported that they have obtained e-mail evidence that NECC was soliciting bulk orders from doctors without necessitating prescriptions of individual patients, which is required under state regulations. Drug compounding labs in Massachusetts are only licensed and authorized to deliver their products if they are shown patient-specific prescriptions by doctors. State pharmacy regulators have asserted that NECC’s failure to do so would violate the terms of its license. So far, Tennessee and New Hampshire have scheduled hearings on NECC’s possible violations. Other states are also investigating NECC, including Ohio, Minnesota, Michigan, and Indiana.

Some 14,000 people in several states are at risk of being infected, the CDC said. Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Usually it is caused by bacterial or viral infection. Fungal meningitis is rare, but not contagious. Symptoms include headache, fever, nausea, numbness, and speech problems.

If you have become sick, or a loved one has died, after receiving a spinal steroid epidural, contact Mike Agruss Law, at 888-572-0176 to discuss your case. We are here to counsel you in your time of need and fight for your rights under the law. Call us today at 888-572-0176.

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