The death toll in the nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to a contaminated epidural steroid injection drug has reached 19.
According to the most recent update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been 19 deaths and another 247 cases of non-fatal fungal meningitis reported among people who received a mixed injection drug given in the treatment of back pain and inflammation.
Three Lots of the drug Methylprednisolone Acetate have been recalled by New England Compounding Center, a Framingham, Mass., a pharmaceutical compounding lab, after Food and Drug Administration tests revealed that sample vials of the drug shipped from that company to more than 70 pain management and other health care facilities in 23 states were contaminated with a fungus that could cause this life-threatening illness.
Victims have been reported in 15 states and Tennessee has remained the leader in amount of illnesses and deaths attributed to the contaminated drug vials.
As the outbreak widens, investigations have focused on New England Compounding Center, and whether it violated the terms of its license by producing enough Methylprednisolone Acetate vials to treat at least 13,000 people. That many people are currently facing a risk of developing fungal meningitis.
Symptoms of fungal meningitis could take a month to develop and federal health officials expect the tolls in this outbreak to continue to rise.