A deadly fungal meningitis outbreak that shows no signs of abating has seen its first lawsuit from one of the nearly 14,000 patients who were given potentially tainted injections of a steroid medicine.
The woman filed the lawsuit in a Minnesota federal court on Thursday, saying that she was given a steroid injection for back pain and has since experienced symptoms related to meningitis, reports NBC News.
There have been 14 confirmed deaths nationwide since the outbreak began last month with patients showing up in a Tennessee emergency room with symptoms of the rare disease.
The number of people who contracted the disease has risen rapidly this week, now standing at 184 people as of Friday, according to Fox News. It has also turned into a major health scandal with multiple investigations launched to see why it happened.
Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, a leading lawmaker, has even called for a criminal probe into the pharmaceutical company at the center of the outbreak.
The New England Compounding Center has since recalled all the potentially tainted injections and also suspended its operating license. The company’s lawyer, Paul Cirel, has also released a statement on behalf of the NECC, saying:
“We are cooperating fully with state and federal agencies whose policy is not to comment on pending matters. In the spirit of our ongoing cooperation, we are honoring their policy.”
While the fungal meningitis outbreak is the worst recorded outbreak linked to a compounding pharmacy, there have been a number of other outbreaks in the past. The first lawsuit in the fungal meningitis outbreak is Barbe Puro against the New England Compounding Center. It was filed in the US District Court in Minnesota on Thursday.