CDC Says Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Has Passed 500 Cases

According to several recent publications, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that 510 people injected with the tinted vials of recalled steroids produced by the New England Compounding Center have fallen ill with various infections.

The federal agency reported that 19 states of the U.S. have been affected by the outbreak. Up to this moment, 36 people injected with the tinted steroids have died also as a result of the infection. Federal agents indicated that, out of the 510 cases, 496 are directly related to fungal meningitis while 14 other patients have been infected with peripheral joint infections linked to other contaminated solutions produced by NECC. The outbreak has been linked to three lots of the drug that was known to be tainted with fungus. All lots known to have been contaminated have been recalled by the Food and Drug Administration.

The CDC has indicated that 14,000 patients may have received the tainted injections. The states that have been hit the hardest by this outbreak include Michigan with 178 cases so far, Tennessee with 84 cases so far, Indiana with 57 cases and Virginia with 51 cases. Other states also affected by the fungal meningitis infections include North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Idaho, New Hampshire, Illinois, Rhode Island and South Carolina.

Some of the vials with the steroid known as methylprednisolone acetate were discovered to be contaminated with Exserohilum rostratum, which is the fungus that has been linked to 84 cases of the rare fungal meningitis. The fungus present in the other vials are still being tested by federal agents. Physicians treating patients suffering with the fungal meningitis are using voriconazole to combat the infection. Other cases of spinal epidural abscesses and arachnoiditis have also been reported. These cases have surfaced among some of the patients who had already fought the fungal meningitis infection. Patients affected by the epidural abscesses must continue to receive the treatment until doctors are absolutely sure they are in the clear.

According to a series of news agencies, the owners of the company linked to the manufacturing of these drugs had some of their assets frozen, which was ordered by a federal judge handling the lawsuits against NECC in the U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts.

Federal agents have been contacting all patients who have received the injection of the infected vials. Hopefully, all affected patients will be able to receive the treatment necessary to help them to fight this infection.

For more on this story and how this crisis is being handled by federal agents, click here to read the full article.

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