Questions about Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

Meningitis Injury Attorneys

What is causing the meningitis outbreak?

The fungal meningitis outbreak was caused by contaminated steroid shots. The drug is called methylprednisolone acetate. It is injected into the spine or joints to treat pain. The biggest risk of contracting meningitis is to patients who received epidural shots (in the spinal column), but anyone who have received the shot should be on the lookout for symptoms.

Have the shots been recalled?

Yes. The contaminated injectable steroid was made by New England Compounding Center (NECC), a pharmacy located in Massachusetts which ships its products to clinics and doctors nationwide. NECC initially recalled three lots of the steroid linked to the meningitis, and later expanded the recall to include all products made at the facility.

The shots were recalled on September 25, 2012, and are no longer in use, but there can be an incubation period of four weeks or more before symptoms of fungal meningitis appear.

How do I know if I am at risk?

About 13,000 people were injected with potentially contaminated steroid. As of October, 11, 2012, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC), 170 had contracted meningitis, and 14 had died.

The steroid drug linked to fungal meningitis was shipped to 76 facilities in 23 states – California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

So far, meningitis has only appeared in patients who received the epidural injections, but anyone who received the injections may be at risk. Patients with compromised immune systems are at higher risk than those with healthy immune function.

You can view an interactive map showing the states where the drug was shipped and those with cases of meningitis here.

What is fungal meningitis?

Meningitis is inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by infection and some drugs. Fungal meningitis is caused by fungal infection, and is a rare type of meningitis.

Is fungal meningitis contagious?

No. Some types of meningitis are contagious but fungal meningitis, the type caused by the contaminated steroid shots, is not.

What are the symptoms of fungal meningitis?

Symptoms of fungal meningitis from contaminated steroid injections include:

  • Pain, swelling, or redness at the injection site
  • Headache
  • Stiff neck
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Fever
  • Weakness or numbness in any part of your body
  • Slurred speech
  • Altered mental state

If you have contracted meningitis after receiving a steroid injection, or if you have lost a loved one to the fungal meningitis outbreak, in Ohio, please contact our meningitis injury attorneys right away. You may be entitled to compensation which can pay for your medical care, lost income, pain and suffering, and more.