An update has been released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
on the number of confirmed meningitis cases and deaths related to the
outbreak garnered widespread media coverage.
According to an Oct. 8 New York Times article, 97 people in 23 states have
fallen ill from the growing outbreak of fungal meningitis, which has already
claimed eight lives. More cases of meningitis are expected, with the Center
for Disease Control and Prevention estimating that 13,000 people may have
been exposed to the steroid which has been linked to the current outbreak,
the Times reports. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention provided
this figure based on reports from clinics and state health departments
that used the steroid, which is injected near the spine to relieve back pain.
U.S. health officials reported Thursday that 14 people have now died and
170 have been sickened in the national meningitis outbreak apparently
linked to contaminated steroid injections.
According to the New York Times, the New England Compounding Center, where
all of the potentially tainted steroids were
manufactured, has currently stopped operations and recalled all of its products. However,
as of Monday, it is estimated that 17,676 doses of the steroid were shipped
across the country, with Tennessee receiving a disproportionate share.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 75 health
care facilities in the following states have received the steroid: Illinois;
California; Connecticut; Florida; Georgia; Idaho; Indiana; Maryland; Michigan;
Minnesota; North Carolina; New Hampshire; New Jersey; Nevada; New York;
Ohio; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; Virginia; Tennessee;
Texas; and West Virginia.
The Times reports that shipments of the potentially tainted steroids were
sent out starting on May 21 and that patients who received lumbar epidural
steroid injections for back pain after this May 21, should see a doctor
if they develop symptoms of meningitis. These symptoms include sensitivity
to light, fever, headache or a stiff neck.
According to the Times article, further testing revealed a fungus in the
patient’s spinal fluid, a rare finding which led the doctor to inquire
as to whether the patient recently received any unusual treatments.