Meningitis Death Toll Climbs To 21 As Infections Spread
The death toll from a recent fungal meningitis outbreak has risen to 21, and more than 270 people have suffered infections.
ABC News reports that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported the rise in deaths, and released that there have been 271 infections from the tainted vials of methylprednisolone acetate, a steroid injection commonly used to treat joint pain. Of the 271 infections, 268 were meningitis infections.
While 21 deaths and 271 infections is already an outbreak, the toll could still climb as more than 14,000 people across 23 states have received injections from the contaminated drugs.
NBC News reports that the meningitis infected shots came from the New England Compounding Pharmacy in Framingham, Mass., and notes they have been distributed since May. While everything has been recalled now, those who have received the shots are still at risk. The symptoms can take as long as four weeks to appear, meaning the number of cases could still rise. The longest reported time between infection and symptoms seen so far has been 42 days.
“But we want to emphasize that we don’t know what the longest will be,” Dr. Benjamin Park of the CDC told ABC News. He said patients who received the possibly meningitis-causing injections should stay alert for symptoms “for months.”
Meningitis symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light, and altered mental status, and any one who has received an injection of the methylprednisolone acetate who develops abnormal symptoms should seek medical attention.