Ongoing Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Investigation

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of March 11 of 2013 the number of reported cases of injury from contaminated steroids produced by the now-defunct Massachusetts company New England Compounding Center (NECC) stands at 722. Hard hit states include Michigan, Indiana, Tennessee and New Jersey. Illinois currently has two reported cases.

Meningitis and spinal infection are the two most common consequences suffered by those who received steroid injections from drug lots contaminated with Exserohilum, a common black mold capable of causing serious human infection, according to the CDC investigation.

Of the 14,000 people who received direct injections of the contaminated drugs into the area around their spines, 50 have died. A sudden rise in meningitis cases led to initial identification of the outbreak late last summer and was followed months later by rising numbers of dangerous spinal abscesses in those known to have received the tainted drugs.

With claims of defective drugs and improper medical treatment, hundreds of patients have filed lawsuits for damages. In the U.S. District Court in Boston, the federal bankruptcy Trustee for NECC is supporting a move to consolidate the claims. To some attorneys representing plaintiffs in the case, creation of a large settlement pool funded by all possible defendants would provide compensation for damages caused by NECC, now in bankruptcy with limited assets.

In the latest outbreak update issued by the CDC, the agency outlines considerations for the management of central nervous system infections with anti-fungal medications and surgical intervention. Spinal infections are deeply rooted, dangerous and often impossible to detect with a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test. Surgery and anti-fungal medications are dangerous and damaging too.

Initially seeking relief from chronic back pain, these patients continue to face physical threat and fear as a result of their medical treatment. If injured by bad medical advice or a defective product, always seek help from an experienced product liability attorney.