According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, the tainted steroids responsible for 19 deaths and sickening more than 200 people in 15 states are methylprednisolone acetate (MPA) injections. The MPA injections were produced by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Massachusetts.
Methylprednisolone acetate injections are used to treat patients who have chronic back pain as well as those who have experienced inflammation causing discomfort and limited movement in joints such as knees, shoulders and hips. Those who received injections in their back are at the highest risk for a fungal infection. Patients who received a steroid injection for pain in joints could acquire an infection though it is likely that the infection would not be fatal.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating the multistate fungal meningitis outbreak of fungal infections among patients who received steroid injections in the spinal area from potentially contaminated lots produced by NECC. The agency is also tracking fungal infections associated with the tainted steroid injections in joints, such as the knee, shoulder, or ankle.
Fungal meningitis is rare and usually the result of the spread of a fungus through blood to the spinal cord. Anyone can contract fungal meningitis; however, those with weak immune systems, like patients with AIDS or cancer, are at higher risk. This form of meningitis is not contagious. Patients may begin experiencing symptoms of meningitis in the spine or brain about one to four weeks after injection. Symptoms of fungal meningitis include new or worsening headache, fever, sensitivity to light, stiff neck, new weakness or numbness in any part of the body, slurred speech, and increased pain, redness, or swelling at the injection site.
Many patients may contract fungal infections as a result of the tainted steroid injection not only to the spine, but also to a joint. In these cases, symptoms may take longer to appear and include fever, increased pain and redness, warmth, or swelling in the joint that received the injection or at the injection site. Fungal infections can be difficult to treat and may require several months of antibiotics. In some instances, fungal infections will reoccur and may require surgical treatment.
If you suspect that you may have received a tainted steroid injection or if you are experiencing symptoms that you believe may be the result of meningitis or a fungal infection, you should seek medical treatment immediately.
The Philadelphia personal injury attorneys at Messa & Associates are experienced at handling cases involving injuries as a result of defective drug and pharmaceutical products. Our extremely skilled team of personal injury attorneys and medical experts is dedicated to ensuring you receive proper compensation for your personal injuries. If you have been injured by a tainted steroid shot, a defective drug or medical device, a negligent medical provider, or have endured any other type of personal injury, contact the personal injury attorneys of Messa & Associates for a free consultation. Call toll free at 1-877-MessaLaw, or submit a free online inquiry.
Joseph L. Messa, Jr. is the founding partner of Messa & Associates, P.C. He is an AV-rated attorney (highest rating available), listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Read More