Philadelphia, PA (PRWEB) October 10, 2012
Eleven people are dead, 119 infected and 13,000 more are potentially exposed to an outbreak of fungal meningitis caused by a contaminated batch of methylprednisolone acetate vials distributed by New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass. The steroid was found to contain a common environmental fungus during an investigation by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy.****
The small compounding company has voluntarily recalled more than 17,000 vials of the contaminated drug distributed to about 75 clinics in 23 states. Some patients who received an injection of the infected batch have suffered strokes linked to meningitis, according to the CDC.* The slow development of fungal meningitis symptoms make it impossible to know how many thousands of people may suffer or die yet from the disease in the coming days.
The incident has revived the debate over whether smaller pharmacies should be subjected to greater government oversight. Many clinics have moved their business from major drug manufacturers to smaller pharmacies to save money. Pharmacies such as New England Compounding mix their own batches of drugs with less supervision of drug safety and quality, according to an article in the New York Times.**
Signs of meningitis include headache, nausea, fever, and neck stiffness. Fungal meningitis symptoms may be mild at first and appear more gradually. People with fungal meningitis may also experience discomfort from bright lights, confusion and dizziness.* People who demonstrate these symptoms after having received an injection of methylprednisolone acetate are urged to consult a physician at the earliest possible opportunity.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Fungal meningitis occurs when the membranes are infected with a fungus. This type of meningitis can develop when the fungus travels through the bloodstream and into the central nervous system. A fungal meningitis outbreak is an extremely rare occurrence, especially as a result of an epidural, which is normally a safe procedure.*
Methylprednisolone uses include treatment of back pain, arthritis pain and swelling, blood disorders, severe allergic reactions, eye conditions and certain cancers.***
Founded in 1977, Anapol Schwartz is a civil justice law firm with 20 attorneys. The firm has law offices in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pa., as well as in Cherry Hill, N.J. and Scottsdale, Ariz. The firm has represented clients in many personal injury matters, such as defective medical devices, dangerous drugs and medical negligence.