Articles Posted in Meningitis Outbreak

Unfortunately, those of us working on cases related to mass medical device errors or dangerous drugs appreciate that safety changes are usually only made in the aftermath of tragic problems. This is partly understandable, as in some cases it is difficult for anyone to know of a problem until some harm befalls someone. However, that does not mean that all mass problems are unavoidable or should not result accountability for those responsible.

The latest fungal meningitis outbreak–linked to tainted spinal steroid injections–offers a good illustration of these points.

As blog readers know, the outbreak has been traced to a pharmaceutical compounding company located in New England. Over 17,000 vials of contaminated product were shipped to at least 23 different states. Over 13,000 doses may have been given to patients between July and September of this year before the problem was identified and the injections were recalled. Thus far well over a hundred people have been infected, and at least twelve have died as a result.

News reports continue to roll in on the latest fungal meningitis outbreak. As we explained earlier this week, over hundred people have already developed meningitis, allegedly as a result of a spinal steroid injection that they received over the last few months. Nearly 17,000 vials of the steroid may have been at risk of contamination. 13,000 of those vials were likely given to patients. Some Illinois residents were at risk, because, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health, at least three APAC Centers for Pain Management gave the injections to patients. Those include the APAC Center at Chicago’s Thorek Hospital Professional Building, the APAC Lincoln Park, and the APAC facility in Westchester’s Prairie Medical Building.

The IDPH reports that those patients have been contacted and tested to determine if they have been affected. Many are still awaiting test results.

It goes without saying that intense investigations must be conducted to determine how this sort of contamination could happen-hundreds have already been infected and at least nine have died. Thus far the investigators believe that the problem stems from a pharmaceutical compounding plant in New England. The plant takes drugs made elsewhere and converts them into proper doses. Apparently something went wrong at that facility which allowed the fungus to mix with the products which were sent to at least twenty three states, including Illinois.

National headlines continue to be made about the fungal meningitis outbreak linked to tainted epidural injections given to patients. As we explained yesterday, the problem has thus far been linked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to a pharmaceutical compounding plant in New England. The compounding plant–which takes drugs made elsewhere and turns them into appropriate doses–apparently sent over 17,000 of vials of a certain steroids that may have been exposed. Several Illinois clinics received those batches and gave some patients painkiller shot in the back with the dangerous drug.

Thus far nationwide over 100 people have been infected with the fungal meningitis. Officials explain that over 13,000 may have been exposed to the dangerous steroid injections between July and September of this year. The drugs have since been recalled, so no more patients should be at risk

So what exactly is fungal meningitis and how can it be identified?

It goes without saying that all medical patients expect the drugs that their doctors give them to make them better–not expose them to potentially fatal infections. But that is just what thousands of patients may be facing after a large meningitis outbreak involved steroids used in dozens of states across the country.

As outlined in a recent report on the situation from Reuters, over 100 people have already been identified as contracting the infection. The total has climbed steadily over the last few days as more and more patients have showed signs of the problem and have been diagnosed. At least eight patients have already died as a result of the outbreak. Just as shockingly, officials report that as many as 13,000 individuals may ultimately have been exposed to the infection as a result of tainted painkillers.

The Source of the Meningitis Outbreak

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