Pennsylvania Officially Infected by Fungal Meningitis Outbreak
Recently, this blog covered the outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to the epidural injections of a contaminated batch of a steroid produced by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts. At that time, there weren’t any cases reported in Pennsylvania and there were only 35 reported cases and 5 deaths from the infection across the nation. Unfortunately, in the ensuing two weeks the number of victims continued to sky rocket, and Pennsylvania patients have not escaped harm. Further, the FDA recently announced that more patients treated with steroid products could be at risk for infection.
Two clinics in Pennsylvania received shipments of the contaminated steroid, Allegheny Pain Management in Altoona, Pennsylvania, and South Hills Pain Clinic in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. Monday, the Department of Health reported that Pennsylvania’s first victim confirmed to be infected with the serious fungal meningitis infection received an epidural injection of the steroid at the Allegheny Pain Management Clinic in July of this year. The patient is currently receiving critical treatment and close monitoring in a hospital.
As reported by the Centers for Disease Control, this Pennsylvania victim joins the ranks of the 247 confirmed cases and 19 deaths — so far — from fungal meningitis infections linked to the contaminated steroid.
Further, the Food and Drug Administration also announced that another victim has come down with fungal meningitis after being treated with a steroid product, not through an epidural injection, but after open-heart surgery. This could indicate that contamination is not confined to just patients that received epidural injects of the New England Compounding Center steroid. The FDA is requesting health care providers follow up with any patient that received any sort of injection of any product produced by the New England Compounding Center, even if it was a product used during an eye surgery.
If a Pennsylvania resident is concerned that they could be impacted by this grave error, they are urged to seek medical evaluation. Further, concerned patients may wish to speak with an advocate that can help them demand answers in this horrible set of circumstances.
Source: Examiner.com, “Pennsylvania DOH identifies first case of fungal meningitis,” Yvonne P. Mazzulo, Oct. 15, 2012