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Tenn. fungal meningitis cases increase to 80

Although the number of deaths remains at 13 the number of cases of fungal meningitis in the state of Tennessee has risen to 80. Tennessee is one of 19 states to report cases. The current outbreak is linked to an injection of steroids which were contaminated.

The New England Compounding Center, in Framingham, Massachusetts made and shipped out 17,000 vials of methylprednisolone acetate, steroids given for back pain, and patients are developing fungal meningitis because of them. They are being investigated for issues with sterility and how the fungus got into the vials in the first place. They have stopped production and recalled all of their products while the investigations take place.

Sister compounding company, Ameridose, also is being investigated and has recalled its products. They also had sterility problems which are being looked at.

The vials were shipped out to 23 states and it is believed 14,000 patients were exposed to fungal meningitis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a list of each state and each clinic and office that received a shipment of the tainted drugs from the New England Compounding Center.

Symptoms being reported are fever, headache, nausea and vomiting, stiff neck, weakness, numbness, pain and swelling at the injection site, slurred speech and vision changes. The symptoms of fungal meningitis are similar to those of other types of meningitis but appear milder at first. Patients who got the steroid shots in their joints, shoulders and knees are also at risk for peripheral joint damage.

Read the full story here.

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