13 illnesses in the state of Ohio have been linked to the current outbreak of fungal meningitis. The two additional cases come from Clermont and Warren Counties. Other cases have been reported in Hamilton, Morrow, Marion, Franklin and Crawford Counties.
The outbreak is being linked to contaminated vials of methylprednisolone acetate, injected steroids, which were distributed by the compounding pharmacy out of Framingham, Massachusetts. The New England Compounding Center is responsible for shipping out around 17,000 vials of tainted steroids to 23 states in the U.S. There are currently over 300 cases and more than 20 deaths cause by the fungal meningitis. The New England Compounding Center and two other specialty pharmacies have stopped production. The New England Compounding Center has also recalled all of its products currently on the market. They believe that 14,000 patients have been exposed to the fungus.
Fungal meningitis affects the membranes surrounding the brain and the spinal cord lining. Symptoms are similar to other types of meningitis but are milder and usually occur within one to four week after receiving an injection. Signs and symptoms include fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, weakness, numbness, slurred speech, vision changes, pain and swelling at the site of the injection and stiff neck. Other patients who received the injections in their joints, shoulders and knees are at risk for developing long term joint damage and may have to have joint replacement surgery.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have released a list of all of the offices and clinics that were shipped the contaminated steroids. If you or a loved one have received an injected steroid and believe you could be at risk for fungal meningitis you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
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