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FDA Confirms Fungus Found in the Steroid Causing the Meningitis Outbreak

Speculation about the link between the rare meningitis outbreak and the steroid injection used for pain, methylprednisolone acetate, has been discussed over the many weeks of the outbreak. While the link between the outbreak and the specific drug were almost certain, the CDC and FDA have both officially confirmed through testing that the fungus was in fact contaminating the medication. Exserohilum rostratum is the main fungus to have been discovered in the victims, and has been found officially to exist within the vials of steroid treatments. At this time the CDC and FDA are continuing their search regarding other possibly contaminated products that were manufactured at the New England Compounding Center.

A case that started with just a few victims has expanded far too quickly. As of Thursday night, there are now 20 deaths and more than 250 victims who have been diagnosed with the infection from this rare fungus. In respect to the 14,000 victims that have received steroid injections, it is likely that this number will continue to climb. Doctors are now showing concerns that the incubation period of the fungus may actually be a lot longer than they assumed. A majority of the cases were diagnosed between a week to four weeks of the initial injection, and now they are saying it is even possible that 2 months down the line people may experience the symptoms.

The majority of the patients received the injections directly into their spinal cord and therefore the doctors believe that when injected there, the incubation period is faster. Other victims received the steroid into joints and other places on their bodies, the doctors believe that it may be those cases that have a longer incubation period, but there is no way to tell at this point in time. The most recent death was in New York, making the number of states with victims now 16, out of what is believed to be a possibility of 23 states total that received the shipments of medication.

Originally this infection was a huge risk factor for only those who were either younger in age, elderly, or otherwise struggling with a weak immune system. This may not necessarily be the case according to a concerned doctor at John Hopkins hospital who watched a victim die within 10 days after being admitted to the hospital for treatments. According to the hospital, she had no record of any auto-immune problems, and wasn’t on any medications. She received the injection for the first time and soon started experiencing many of the symptoms.

At this point, the outbreak wasn’t as widely known, so when she came in for treatments for her symptoms they could not find anything wrong and they sent her home. She returned again shortly after in a far worse condition than before. They placed her on a variety of antibiotics and other medications, though they were still unable to find the source of the problem. It wasn’t until the doctors conducted the autopsy did they find the fungus in her spinal fluid, they had no idea to search for that kind of rare infection.

Because of cases like this, doctors are now warning people that the slight symptoms may take drastic turns very quickly and if left untreated any person is at risk of death. At this point there are 14,000 people who are still left uncertain as to whether or not their injection was contaminated with the rare fungus, and until they experience a symptom they will not know. Doctors encourage any person who has received any form of steroid pain treatment via injection to be aware, and if they experience any symptoms to contact their doctor immediately. It is important to explain to your physician that you received the injection so that they know what tests need to be done.

What is frightening about this outbreak is that the symptoms are subtle such as a headache, fever, dizziness, and the like. The way the infection affects people is unique, and while some may take quickly to anti-fungus treatments, others may be at risk of death because of the contaminated product. If you or someone you know has fallen victim of this disaster, don’t wait another moment to take legal action. Pharmaceutical companies are trusted to distribute safe products that will help patients, not kill them. While a life lost may never be brought back, financial compensation can be sought after. Contact Jackson Allen & Williams today for a personal injury attorney who can fight for you.

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