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Meningits Outbreak Linked to Contaminated NECC Steroid Injections Extends to 14 States With Lawsuits to Follow

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported over 170 meningitis infections within at least 14 states have been linked by contaminated steroid injections from the New England Compounding Center (NECC.) The first - of what could potentially be many - lawsuits resulting from the effects of the contamination was filed by Savage, Minnesota, resident Barbe Puro after she received an injection of one of the three contaminated lots of medicine. Puro filed suit on October 11, 2012 and is awaiting medical tests confirming possible infection as part of a this large scale national health issue.

A voluntary recall of all products manufactured by the NECC was issued by health officials on September 26, 2012. An intensive investigation by government health officials into the source of the outbreak allowed the CDC to confirm the presence of Exserohilum fungus and Aspergillus fungus. The CDC So far over 170 people throughout the U.S. have fallen ill with meningitis infections, including fourteen deaths, with numbers rising per figures offered as of Friday, October 12, 2012.

Latest figures indicate that over 13,000 patients nationwide were treated with contaminated epidural and non-epidural injections from the Framingham, Massachusetts, pharmaceutical firm between July until September. Over 17,000 doses of NECC products are believed to have been distributed to 75 hospitals and medical centers within 23 states.

All patients who were treated with any or all of the three preservative free methylprednisolone acetate manufactured by the NECC from May 21, 2012 to the September recall should seek immediate medical treatment, particularly if symptoms of a fungal infection present. Anyone who has undergone steroid injections within the past three months have been urged by health officials to contact their clinicians if they suffer from fever, dizziness, nausea, headaches, confusion, or slurred speech as these may be the symptoms of a possible infection. Officials are uncertain in terms of the extent and impact of the outbreak with some patients mildly affected and others with serious and/or life threatening response. Infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist Dr. David Itkin from the Portsmouth Regional Hospital offered during a recent interview: “In terms of something on this scale, I do believe this is unprecedented.”

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