Fungal Meningitis from Spinal Injections causing injuries and deaths nationwide

The CDC has issued an urgent warning related to cases of bacterial meningitis caused by contaminated steroid injections.  At least 91 people have been infected so far, including at least seven deaths so far.  Both the CDC and state health officials expect the count to rise dramatically as doctors are warned of a deadly fungus growing inside sealed vials of steroids used to treat back pain; once doctors warn their patients who received the contaminated serum and explain the symptoms of meningitis, more patients will come forward.  This is a very serious issue – meningitis often causes brain damage, hearing loss, learning disabilities and death.  Meningitis is usually contagious, but this outbreak, caused by a fungus, is not.

Fungal Meningitis

Meningitis is a severe, life-threatening infection.  Meningitis causes inflammation of the protective membranes and tissue covering the brain and spinal cord.  Although it is usually caused by bacteria or viruses (and typically linked to contaminated food), this outbreak was caused by fungus in the steroid serum that was sealed into the container, where it continued to grow.  The symptoms of fungus-induced meningitis, in addition to the typical symptoms, also include dizziness and confusion.

Symptoms of Fungal Meningitis

The symptoms of meningitis include nausea, vomiting, increased sensitivity to light (photophobia), confusion, headaches, stiff neck, and fever.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms can occur quickly or over several days, usually presenting within 3-7 days of infection.  Some of the symptoms mimic those caused by the flu or common cold – if you have any of the symptoms of meningitis or a cold and you have received a steroid injection for back pain (sometimes called an epidural steroid injection or “ESI”), go to the doctor immediately and get tested for meningitis.

Treatment for Fungal Meningitis

It is vitally important that meningitis treatment be started as soon as possible.  The infection can be treated with antibiotics, although even with treatment the risk of death for the very young and the elderly remain high.   Cases have been reported in nine states so far.

Source of the Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Identified

The contaminated steroids are all linked to a single laboratory/pharmacy, the New England Compounding Center located in Massachusetts.  The pharmacy shipped contaminated  steroids and painkillers to Texas, California, Florida, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.  The CDC, during its investigation, discovered at least one vial of steroids with visible fungus growing inside.

Mr. Merman has experience representing the victims of unsanitary medicine.  These cases usually involve deplorable factory conditions where the medicine is manufactured.  Mr. Merman has represented clients whose medicine had human hair from the manufacturer in the administration vial.  This seems like that kind of situation so far.  One thing is for sure, if safe manufacturing practices are followed there should never be an outbreak like this one.  Call the Merman Law Firm for immediate help if you think you have been infected with Meningitis from steroid injections.