October 4, 2012

Meningitis Outbreak in Five States

Meningitis Outbreak in Five States

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that a meningitis outbreak is now being reported in five states. Twenty-six infections have been reported including four deaths. The suspected source is tainted steroid injections that are used to treat back pain. The medication came from a pharmacy in Massachusetts that issued a recall last week. The New England Compounding Center issued a statement Wednesday, saying it is "working closely with the state Department of Public Health in Massachusetts and other regulators to identify the source of infection. The company said that immediately after it was notified about the infections it initiated a voluntary recall on September 26."

According to the CDC, the "patients are thought to have been infected by a steroid drug contaminated with a fungus, Aspergillus." Thus far, meningitis cases of a type that "does not spread from person to person," have been confirmed in Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia and Maryland; and all of the patients had received an injection of methylprednisolone acetate, a lumbar epidural steroid, for back pain.

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