As of early November, two cases of fungal meningitis have been reported in Illinois. Nationwide, more than 400 have been affected by the fungal infection and 29 have died. The infections have been traced to contaminated doses of methylprednisolone acetate. The drug, which was dispensed to more than 14,000 patients as epidural injections for back pain, was contaminated with as many as five species of fungus and ten types of bacteria. Most of the meningitis cases have been due to infections from Exserohilum rostratum. Mold was injected into the spinal cord, it was able to cause the meningitis infection.
The risk in Illinois
In Illinois, three clinics received contaminated steroid injections. These are the APAC Centers for Pain Management in Westchester, Lincoln Park, and the Thorek Memorial Hospital in Chicago. While only two people are known to have contracted fungal meningitis, about 350 others are at risk. The incubation period can last months. There will almost certainly be additional cases.
FDA investigators who visited the New England Compounding Center (NECC) found deplorable conditions in the facility where the drugs were manufactured. They have advised doctors and hospitals to stop using any medications manufactured by NECC. More than 130 Illinois clinics and hospitals have received drugs made in the NECC facility. Only patients who received injectable drugs are being notified.
The risk in Wisconsin
There have been no cases of fungal meningitis in Wisconsin. The contaminated methylprednisolone acetate was not used in Wisconsin clinics. However, 80 Wisconsin clinics and hospitals received other drugs manufactured by NECC.
Affected patients should watch for symptoms
Anyone treated with contaminated steroids should be watchful for symptoms, even if it has been several months since the injection. Initial signs of fungal meningitis include headache, stiffness in the neck, fever, skin irritation at the injection site, slurred speech, dizziness, and weakness. Any one experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention. can quickly worsen and affect the brain.
Legal help for fungal meningitis victims
The Illinois personal injury lawyers at Hupy and Abraham are currently accepting pharmaceutical injury claims against the New England Compounding Center. To learn more about participating in an Illinois pharmaceutical class action lawsuit, contact Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678.