Meningitis is an inflammation that affects the protective membranes of the brain and spinal cord. This particular type of meningitis, called fungal meningitis, is rare and is extremely serious. It has recently been linked to contaminated spinal steroid injections, which is a common treatment for back pain. Early symptoms may include severe headache, fever, dizziness, nausea, significant neck stiffness, pain at the injection site, and slurred speech. These symptoms can take up to four weeks to appear.
As of Oct 6, 2012 there have been 47 fungal meningitis cases reported to the Center For Disease Control in 75 facilities and seven states. Five of the reported cases have been have been fatal. In Indiana, there have been three people diagnosed with this infection after having received steroid injections for back pain.
Six Indiana health care facilities in Elkhart, Evansville, Fort Wayne, South Bend, Terre Haute and Columbus have reportedly received batches of a contaminated steroid medication called methylprednisolone acetate that is produced and distributed by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts. The facility in Massachusetts has shut down operations as of October 3, 2012.
The Indiana health care facilities that are known to have received shipments of steroid injections that have been recalled because of possible contamination with fungal meningitis are the following:
- Wellspring Pain Solutions; Columbus, Indiana
- Ambulatory Care Center, LLC; Evansville, Indiana
- Ft. Wayne Physical Medicine; Ft. Wayne, Indiana
- OSMC Outpatient Surgery Center: Elkhart, Indiana
- South Bend Clinic; South Bend, Indiana
- Union Hospital; Terre Haute, Indiana
If you have recently received a steroid injection at any of these facilities, you should contact the facility immediately to find out if you should have testing to ensure that you have not infected by a contaminated vial of this steroid medication. In addition, if you have recently had a steroid injection at any of these facilities and are experiencing symptoms of severe headache, fever, dizziness, nausea, significant neck stiffness, pain at the injection site, or slurred speech, you should seek medical attention immediately.
The Center For Disease Control (CDC) is coordinating a multistate investigation of meningitis among patients who received epidural steroid injections into the spine. For more information regarding this fungal meningitis outbreak, you may also visit CDC’s website http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/outbreaks/meningitis.html
If you have been injured because of a contaminated steroid medication, contact Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer James Ludlow to discuss your legal rights. Visit our website at www.ludlowlaw.com.