As per the latest update by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday, 105 people across 9 states have been infected with fungal meningitis linked to epidural steroid injections in the United States. The death toll in the widening outbreak has now increased to 8.
Fungal meningitis is usually a rare infection that is caused by the spread of a fungus through blood to the spinal cord. This form of meningitis is not contagious.
Though the exact source of the meningitis outbreak is still under investigation, the prime suspect is methylprednisolone acetate injection given to treat lower back pain, which was distributed by New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts, also known as NECC.
Three lots of NECC's methylprednisolone acetate were found to be contaminated with fungus and they were recalled on September 26, 2012. However, last week, NECC announced a recall of all its products - methylprednisolone acetate products as well as other injectable medications, distributed from its facility in Framingham, Massachusetts, and shut down its operations.
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 are the states that received the implicated product.
Tennessee has reported the most number of infections - 35 cases, and the highest number of deaths - 4.
With about 13,000 people reportedly said to have received the recalled steroid shots, it remains to be seen how the situation pans out in the coming days.
by RTT Staff Writer
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