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Meningitis Outbreak: Ongoing Damage from Contaminated Steroids

Last year healthcare investigators became concerned about an apparent outbreak of spinal meningitis. The cause of the outbreak was tied to contaminated steroids produced by the New England Compounding Center, a now-defunct Massachusetts business (NECC). The damage and heartbreak of the toxic injections received by patients throughout the United State continues today.

Across the country, 58 people have died from meningitis. In Ohio, there has been one death, 13 cases of meningitis and eight infections. Months after the number of meningitis cases subsided, patients who received injections of contaminated medication near their spine are being diagnosed with serious fungal infections.

In a recent editorial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the authors described a Michigan study of MRI results of patients exposed to contaminated injections who had previously reported no symptoms. Of 172 asymptomatic patients, 17 underwent surgery after the MRI detected fungal infections within or around their spine.

Treatment for spinal fungal infection includes surgery and powerful anti-fungal medications that can cause serious side effects. Symptoms of a spinal abscess may include:

  • Fever, swelling, headache
  • Numbness, tingling or burning sensation in the back or legs
  • Muscle cramps, spasms
  • Sexual, bladder or bowel dysfunction

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends follow-up on patients who exhibit symptoms. If steroids you received were compounded at NECC, check with your doctor about the advisability of procedures to screen for spinal abscess or infection.

If you suffered harm due to contaminated medications from NECC or other sources, get good medical care and then speak with an experienced personal injury attorney in Ohio.

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