Rare fungal meningitis lawyers at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm are warning of a serious outbreak that has already led to at least 5 deaths and more than 47 serious injuries nationwide. This unusual type of meningitis is quickly spreading, and health officials expect even more cases to be reported.
Health experts are linking the deadly fungal meningitis outbreak to spinal steroid injections. The contaminated steroid was shipped to nearly 100 hospitals and clinics in 23 states around the country. So far, fungal meningitis cases have been reported in Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina, Indiana, Michigan, Virginia, and Maryland.
New England Compounding Center is the compounding pharmacy that made the contaminated drug. According to abcnews.com, the pharmacy recalled approximately 17,676 vials of the steroid, and then completely shut down all operations. This is the same company that received a warning from the FDA back in 2006 for possible contamination problems relating to the cancer drug Avastin.
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A majority of the drug-related fungal meningitis cases happened in Tennessee, where at least 900 residents received the spinal steroid injections for back pain. Three of them died. As nbcnews.com reported, most of the infected patients were treated at the Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center, which voluntarily closed its doors on Sept. 20.
The risk of serious injury and death from fungal meningitis is widespread. The rare diseases can incubate for up to 4 weeks without showing any symptoms. This means that thousands of patients who received spinal injections of steroids could still become extremely ill.
Fungal meningitis is highly dangerous. The kind of fungal meningitis at issue here is known as aspergillus meningitis, which is very rare. This potentially fatal disease is not transferred from person to person, but is caused by a fungus that health officials believe was visibly present in the injections. Victims may develop severe headaches, fevers, nausea, and trouble walking or talking. Even more disturbingly, fungal meningitis sufferers can end up with permanent nerve damage and can even lose their lives to the rare disease.
Drug-related fungal meningitis can be diagnosed with a lumbar puncture, and requires long-term intravenous treatments. If it is not timely diagnosed and treated, it can also lead to death, as it has in several cases around the country. The risk of serious injury or death may be increased depending on the amount of steroid injections patients received.
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Manufacturers have a duty to make products that are safe for the public. Compound pharmacies are more problematic for consumers because they are less strictly regulated by the FDA. The State Boards of Pharmacy typically monitors these types of products, and the FDA only steps in when serious problems arise.
If spinal steroid injections patients develop problems walking, talking, or other fungal meningitis symptoms, they should seek medical help right away in order to begin treatment. Victims of fungal meningitis who are suffering serious medical problems may be entitled to recover in a meningitis lawsuit. It is important to contact a rare meningitis lawyer right away so that your legal rights are protected.
Nearly 50 people in 7 states have already been diagnosed with rare fungal meningitis. And five of these meningitis victims died from the drug-related disease. As the investigation unfolds, even more serious injuries and deaths are expected.