Investigators have confirmed that there was a fungus in the injected steroids which are now giving patients fungal meningitis. The vials containing the steroid, methylprednisolone acetate, were contaminated by exserohilum rostratum, killing 20 people and presenting over 200 cases. The contaminated steroids came from a company in Massachusetts, the New England Compounding Company, who is now under investigation and has recalled all of their products.
Almost 97% of the people who received the injections for back pain are being asked to do follow-ups with their doctors. Drugs made out of compounding companies do not undergo the same restrictions and rules as those out of regular pharmacies. The steroids produced by the NECC were preservative-free, meaning there was nothing in them to kill any bacteria, so they should have been made under an extremely sterile environment. The FDA is being criticized for its inaction to oversee the drugs being manufactured. The outbreak has affected many states in the US and the number of cases and deaths continues to rise. Patients received the injected steroids for back pain and a few weeks later develop fungal meningitis.