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23 Dead in Meningitis Outbreak

In the current outbreak of fungal meningitis two more have been reported dead today. The death toll is now at 23. The fungal meningitis outbreak is linked to contaminated steroids which were distributed by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated there are 297 cases: 294 are fungal meningitis and the others are joint infections. There are cases in 16, but 23 states received shipments of the vials of steroids from the New England Compounding Center. The company currently shut down business and has recalled all of its products while under investigation. Three lots of the products were shipped out and it is estimated that 14,000 patients could have been exposed to the fungal meningitis.

The vials of methylprednisolone acetate contained a fungus found in soil and plants, Exserohilum rostratum. There is also one case containing the fungus Aspergillus and one case containing Cladosporium. It is unknown how the fungi made its way into sealed vials.

Fungal meningitis occurs when fungus affects the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord lining. The symptoms can take a few weeks to appear and may be milder than the symptoms of other types of meningitis. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, headache, fever, slurred speech, pain and swelling at the injection site, stiff neck and weakness. If you or a loved one has received an injection of steroids and experience any of the symptoms listed you should seek medical attention from your health care provider immediately.

Read the full story here.

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