November 18, 2019

Epidural Meningitis Outbreak Cases Climb to 105 in 9 States, Tennessee, Virginia and Michigan Hardest Hit

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are investigating a multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis among patients who received an epidural injection containing steroid medication made by the New England Compounding Center (NECC), a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy.  To date 105 people in 9 states are confirmed as part of the outbreak.

The case count of the meningitis outbreak by state is as follows, according to the CDC: Florida (4), Indiana (11), Maryland (5 and 1 death), Michigan (21 and 2 deaths), Minnesota (3), North Carolina (2), Ohio (1), Tennessee (35 with 4 deaths), and Virginia (23 with 1 death). Many of these people had strokes associated with the meningitis. Investigators have found fungus, Aspergillus and Exserohilum, in cultures of the cerebrospinal fluid of some of the outbreak victims. Most of the cases in Tennessee were caused by Exserohilum.

Attorney Fred Pritzker, who has been contacted by victims of this epidural meningitis outbreak, is gathering evidence for a lawsuit against the New England Compounding Center.  “Victims of this outbreak and their families need answers,” said Pritzker, who recently won over $40,000,000 for clients injured by another medical product. “Good safety practices should prevent this kind of fungal contamination and adequate testing should prevent any contaminated product from injuring and killing patients. Something went terribly wrong here.” Pritzker is available for a free consultation.

The states that received the implicated NECC steroid include California,  Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, and West Virginia.

Epidural injections for pain management are very common and complications are usually rare. Fungal meningitis is extremely rare. The symptoms are similar to other types of meningitis but usually appear more gradually and can be very mild. The classic symptoms of meningitis are headache, fever, nausea, and neck stiffness. People with fungal meningitis may also be affected with confusion, dizziness, and discomfort from bright lights.  Some patients may have only one or two of these symptoms. Symptoms usually appear 1 to 4 weeks after injection.
The New England Compounding Center has recalled all of its products after first recalling the three lots of methylprednisolone acetate implicated in this outbreak. Because the symptoms of this outbreak are mild, anyone showing any symptoms or illness after an epidural injection should see their healthcare provider immediately.
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