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National meningitis outbreak has ended 25 lives
10.29.2012News sources report that the strain of meningitis linked to a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy has appeared in 18 states. As of Oct. 27, 25 individuals passed away after acquiring the fungal bacterial infections, possibly from tainted steroid injections.
Tennessee - where the outbreak first appeared - has had more fatalities than any other state, with 74 cases and 10 deaths. Meningitis has also been prevalent in Michigan, which has seen 82 occurrences of the illness and five deaths. Indiana and Virginia have also incurred comparatively significant human costs, with 43 cases in both states. Two people have died in Virginia, while three people have succumbed to meningitis in the Hoosier State.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some of these meningitis infections have only displayed mild symptoms such as headache, fever, nausea and light sensitivity. However, anyone who has received an epidural steroid injection since May 21 and is showing any symptoms should consult his or her physician before the slowly developing disease could require emergency medicine. Other signs of illness include stiff neck, weakness, numbness, slurred speech or an infection at the site of injection.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigates
Conditions at the New England Compounding Center (NECC), the company thought to be responsible for the tainted steroids, did not appear to be up to code when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigated on Oct. 25.
The agency reported discovering a strangely colored foreign substance in the containers that stored back pain steroids considered the source of the national meningitis outbreak.
"We call this 'overgrowth,' when [pathogens] are very visible to the naked eye," Steven Lynn, director of the FDA's office of compliance at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, told Business Insider.
According to the new source, the substance. which was evidently mold or bacteria, was visible in 83 out of 331 vials the FDA examined. What has been described as a "white filamentous material" could be seen in 17 of these vials.
Representatives from the NECC told Business Insider that the raw materials they used to create the steroid injections were clean, however this wasn't necessarily the case for some of the active pharmaceutical ingredients used for the back pain steroids. Lynn said this information does not necessarily reflect the usual standards of conditions for the NECC.
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