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The Fungal Meningitis Outbreak: One Year Later

Posted on November 4, 2013

It was a year ago that the largest outbreak of a healthcare-related infection ever reported in the U.S. was announced. Of course, we are referring to the tragic outbreak of fungal meningitis caused by contaminated lots of methylprednisolone acetate (MPA). The contaminated injectable steroid has been linked to 751 cases of fungal meningitis nationwide — and 64 patients died of the disease.

Frighteningly, a case of the infection cropped up as late as July of this year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has written clinical papers outlining the outbreak of the disease and other complications linked to contaminated MPA that had been produced by the now defunct New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Massachusetts. It reported that patients suffered from a variety of illnesses, including meningitis, stroke, and arachnoidtitis (an inflammation of the membranes around the spinal cord and brain). Localized infections that originated at the site of the injection ran the gamut from mild to life threatening.

Sadly, many patients are still dealing with the long-term health impacts of the outbreak.

The CDC recently awarded a contract to the University of Alabama to conduct a study that will follow some 500 of those patients to answer questions about the impact of the longer-term effects of the outbreak. The study, which will run through August of 2015, will investigate which therapies were most effective and what their side effects were. Also, it will look at relapses that may have occurred after therapy had ceased.

The CDC says the purpose of the study will be to improve the care of current and future patients linked to the outbreak. According to the CDC 25 Floridians were victims of the outbreak and 7 died as a result.

If you or a loved one have been injured by a contaminated drug, contact the pharmaceutical liability attorneys at Farah & Farah in St. Augustine. You may be entitled to compensation for hospitalization, medical bills and pain and suffering.

Do you have questions about your legal rights? Call us at (800) 533-3555 for a free, no-obligation review of your case — or contact us online to set up a consultation with an attorney.