Meningitis Outbreak

Meningitis Outbreak Continues As Contaminated Products Recalled By New England Company

New England Compounding Pharmacy has recalled a product that is believed to be responsible for the recent meningitis outbreak that has killed seven people and sickened dozens. The company announced the voluntary recall on Sunday morning.

Also known as the New England Compounding Center, the group is working on the recall with the US Food and Drug Administration (USDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and a Massachusetts pharmacy board.

On October 4, the FDA determined that NECC was selling a steroid that has been tainted with meningitis. According to the CDC, the steroid known as methylprednisolone acetate was shipped to 23 states from July through September.

Meningitis is a potentially deadly disease which causes inflammation on the lining of the brain and potential spinal cord injury. The particular strain currently being reported is known as aspergillus meningitis, and it is caused by a fungus found in spinal steroid injections.

Sixty-four people in nine states have reported a fungal meningitis infection recently, and seven have died from the infection after receiving steroid injections in their backs.

Meningitis can be treated by medication and is best fought when detected early.

New England Compounding is attempting to alert people at risk via a comprehensive list of products created by the company since January 2012. You can find the exhaustive list HERE (.pdf).

TheDaily Mail warns that thousands of patients are at risk across 23 states.

Anyone experiencing the side effects of meningitis should contact their local health provider immediately. For your convenience, here is a list of meningitis symptoms via the Mayo Clinic:

  • High fever
  • Severe headache that isn’t easily confused with other types of headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Vomiting or nausea with headache
  • Confusion or difficulty concentrating — in the very young, this may appear as inability to maintain eye contact
  • Seizures
  • Sleepiness or difficulty waking up
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Lack of interest in drinking and eating
  • Skin rash in some cases, such as in viral or meningococcal meningitis

Products can be returned for a full refund.