Meningitis Outbreak – is the FDA Protecting Us?

On January 23, 2013, in Defective Drugs, by K. Lindsay Rakers

Fungal meningitis has been making news headlines recently due to the outbreak of this rare illness in patients that received potentially contaminated spinal injections of a steroid which was produced and distributed by the New England Compounding Center. As of October 13, 2012, fourteen people have lost their lives in over 170 reported cases due to fungal meningitis; with over 13,000 individuals being potentially exposed to this illness through injections. Health officials estimate that the potentially contaminated injections were distributed to 75 medical facilities in 23 states.

Fungal meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, and cannot be transmitted from person to person. The CDC and health officials are suggesting that all those individuals that may have received a spinal steroid injection, especially those which received the injection at one of the reported facilities, become familiar with the symptoms of fungal meningitis, as early detection is the key to treatment. Symptoms such as fever, stiffness of the neck, headache, weakness, pain, swelling, photophobia (sensitivity to light), and mental confusion, as some of the more common symptoms. Fungal meningitis, if left untreated, may ultimately be fatal.

If you, or someone you know, received a spinal steroid injection between May 21 and September 24, you are encouraged to seek medical advice and treatment as soon as possible. The CDC has been notifying those individuals who may be affected, but due to the severity of this outbreak, you should seek medical diagnosis regardless of notification. As always, stay informed, and stay aware.

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