The outbreak of meningitis caused by poor processing procedures at an aggregating plant continues to grow. The first lawsuits have been filed, and along with the outbreak it is expected that wrongful death lawsuits will also continue to grow. As of today, there have been 247 meningitis infections reportedly associated with contaminated steroid injections, 19 of them fatal. Ohio has been affected with nine cases of meningitis, but fortunately no deaths have been reported in our state.
Meningitis is swelling in the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The most common form of meningitis is bacterial meningitis, which is highly contagious, but viral meningitis is another, less dangerous form that can be passed from person to person. Fungal meningitis, the kind caused by the contaminated steroids is generally rare, and is not contagious.
The current outbreak of fungal meningitis stems from defective medication prepared at the New England Compounding Center (NECC). The Department of Justice has opened an official investigation into the plant, and officials from the FDA have visited the plant, but they do not want to speculate about the outcome of the investigation. The FDA says that up to three lots of steroid injections may have been contaminated, comprising a total of 17,000 injections, and up to 14,000 patients may have received injections.
Most of the injections involved a single type of steroid, methylprednisolone acetate, primarily associated with spinal injections for back pain, but now additional products and procedures have been implicated as the meningitis cases mount. Individuals who received steroid or other medical injections should look out for the symptoms of meningitis, including:
- Mental status changes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Light sensitivity
- Stiff neck or back
- Fever and chills
If you experience these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor immediately and be evaluated for meningitis.
If you have lost a loved one due to this or another type of contaminated medication, please contact Robert W. Kerpsack, CO, LPA today for a free case evaluation in Columbus, Ohio.