Meningitis Cases Caused by Tainted Steroid Injections Amount to Over 100

Meningitis Cases Caused by Tainted Steroid Injections Amount to Over 100
CDC Map of Meningitis Outbreak as of 10/9/12

Overview: The meningitis outbreak continues to escalate, as the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) latest report indicates that over 100 patients have contracted the illness through contaminated steroid injections. The updated count includes 11 deaths and spans 10 states. As further cases are documented, thousands of patients are being told to look for signs of meningitis, a serious condition that causes inflammation in the membranes around the brain and spinal cord.

  • As of this afternoon, there are 119 cases of fungal meningitis caused by tainted steroid injections; the count includes 11 deaths
  • The highest concentration of cases has been in Tennessee, Michigan and Virginia
  • Patients who are at risk are told to look for signs such as fever, new or worsening headache, neck stiffness, sensitivity to light, new weakness or numbness, increasing pain, redness or swelling of the injection site

Outbreak Prompts Multi-State Investigation

This afternoon, the CDC released an updated report showing that 119 cases of fungal meningitis, including 11 deaths, have been attributed to tainted preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate injections manufactured by the New England Compounding Center. According to the CDC, the company has recalled “all products currently in circulation that were compounded at and distributed from its facility in Framingham, Massachusetts.”

The CDC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are currently investigation the issue, which has affected patients in 10 states, including: Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia.

Deadly Injections Leave Thousands at Risk

Although cases have only been documented in 10 states so far, the recalled lots have been distributed to 23 states and may have exposed thousands to fungal meningitis. The CDC has told patients who have been infected took watch for signs of illness, including:

  • Fever
  • Worsening headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Sensitivity to light
  • New weakness or numbness
  • Increasing pain
  • Redness or swelling at injection site

The outbreak has been traumatic for a number of the people affected. George Cary, a 65- year old man from Michigan, lost his wife due to the contaminated injections. According to the Associated Press, 67-year old Lilian Cary died after receiving the routine injections for back pain in the Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton. Cary himself might also be affected, following a spinal tap in the emergency room. “At this point, there’s nothing abnormal, but they said the same thing when Lilian had hers. … Not only have I lost my wife, but I’m watching the clock to see if anything develops.” Cary told Associated Press.