Last month, we discussed the meningitis outbreak affecting Tennessee and 22 other states. At that time, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control was reporting 32 cases in our state, with 3 of them proving fatal. Since our report on Oct. 8th, the CDC has increased its numbers to a total of 69 cases, 9 of which have proven fatal.
And of all states affected by the outbreak, Tennessee has the most cases.
The outbreak of meningitis, epidural abscess or posterior stroke stems from contaminated epidural steroid injections according to the CDC and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For cases in Tennessee, it is believed that patients received injections from one of three locations.
The steroid, known officially as methylprednisolone acetate (80mg/ml), is a preservative free substance. The contaminated steroid is believed to have been manufactured by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) located in Framingham, Massachusetts.
On October 16th, agents from the FDA raided the pharmacy linked to the meningitis outbreak. Besides the contaminated steroids, it’s believed that NECC may have broken federal controlled substances laws.
Although there is much speculation about what sort of laws may have been broken and fraud committed, the U.S. attorney in Massachusetts, Carmen Ortiz, commented that it was “entirely premature” to speculate what investigators may uncover.
An attorney for the pharmacy commented that the raid was completely unnecessary and that NECC would have produced any information requested by investigators.
As the investigation into NECC widens and continues, the number of confirmed meningitis cases nationwide has jumped to 284. Of these cases, 23 have proven fatal.
It’s reported that nearly 14,000 people across the country are at risk for fungal meningitis. That’s roughly the number of people who received injections from the contaminated steroid injections that were sent to 76 different facilities in 23 states.
Meningitis is a fungal infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. To learn more about symptoms of meningitis, read our last post discussing the outbreak.
And if you’ve received steroid injections you believe came from the NECC and start experiencing symptoms, seek medical attention first then contact medical malpractice attorneys at Knoxville’s Gilreath and Associates.