Rhode Island has reported its first case of fungal meningitis. The current outbreak of fungal meningitis is being linked to a compounding pharmacy located in Framingham, Massachusetts. The New England Compounding Center is responsible for shipping out around 17,000 vials of contaminated methylprednisolone acetate, steroids used for pain. The woman who was hospitalized after receiving an injection of the steroids said she had received the shot at Ocean State Pain Management of Woonsocket on September 22. The clinic she got her shot at and New England Anesthesiology were the two clinics that had received shipments from the New England Compounding Center. More than 300 cases have been reported of patients becoming ill because of the tainted steroids and 25 have died. The New Compounding Center has stopped production and recalled all of its current products out on the market. Two other pharmacies have also shut down while investigations are taking place.
Fungal meningitis has symptoms like those of other types of meningitis but appears milder and usually takes one to four weeks to appear. Symptoms like fever, nausea and vomiting, numbness, weakness, stiff neck, changes in vision and pain and swelling at the site of the injection are symptoms being reported by patients with fungal meningitis. Also, patients who received the shots in their joints, shoulders and knees are developing long term joint damage which could lead to joint replacement surgery.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a list of the offices and clinics, by state, that received the contaminated vials of steroids sent by the New England Compounding Center. Doctors encourage patients who received an injection, especially those experiencing other symptoms to talk to their health care provider.
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