A rare form of meningitis has taken hold, sickening 26 people in five states including four that died. The FDA reported that all of the individuals received a steroid injection in the spine before becoming ill. The steroid was used mainly for back pain and was manufactured by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts that recently issued a recall and has shut down operations.
This type of meningitis is not contagious and is instead linked to a mold often found on leaves. Health officials speculate that the steroid contained the mold. Eighteen of the cases of meningitis were in Tennessee, where a health clinic received the largest shipment of the steroid. However, officials say they are still attempting to locate the exact origins of the infection. Other people in Florida, Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina were also sickened by the same form of meningitis. Officials expect to see more cases in the coming days, considering that meningitis has an incubation period from 2 to 28 days and an estimated 900 people received the steroid injection in Nashville, TN alone.
The FDA has contacted the specialty pharmacy responsible for the manufacture of the steroid. New England Compounding Center is located in Framingham, Massachussetts and says that it is working with the FDA to identify the source of the contamination while also temporarily suspending operations. The meningitis outbreak was first discovered when Vanderbilt University's Dr. April Pettit was treating a patient that was not doing well for unknown reasons. When the lab at Vanderbilt found fungus in the patient's spinal fluid, Dr. Petit started asking questions and discovered that the patient had received a spinal injection of steroids. Meningitis is an inflammation of the spinal cord and lining of the brain and symptoms include severe and worsening headaches, nausea, dizziness and fever. Other symptoms include slurring speech, difficulty walking and urinating.
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.