In recent months 137 cases of a rare, noncontagious form of meningitis have been reported across the country, resulting in 12 deaths. The Center For Disease Control (CDC) has confirmed the presence of fungus in steroid injections as he source of the problem. The contaminated steroid injections were made by the Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center, and distributed to 23 states (including California). Unfortunately, this type of tragedy occurs all too frequently. S&S Legal Group is a leader in the area of drug and product liability litigation. Our experienced attorneys have extensive knowledge of the legal ramifications of defective drugs and the injuries they cause to unsuspecting victims. If you or a loved one is experiencing an illness that may be related to a defective drug, like the current meningitis outbreak, contact our offices today.
What Is Meningitis?
Meningitis is the inflammation of the protective membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. It is usually caused by bacteria, a virus, or fungus. Viral meningitis is less severe and does not require medical treatment in most cases. Bacterial and fungal meningitis, on the other hand, can be deadly if not promptly treated. In the current outbreak, fungal meningitis is introduced directly into the central nervous system by tainted steroid injections given for back problems. The steroid, called methylprednisolone acetate, is injected into the spine and is used to treat pain and inflammation. According the CDC, approximately 13,000 people may have received the injections between May 21st and September 24th. The compounding company in Massachusetts has recalled more than 17,000 single-dose vials of the steroid and has also voluntarily ceased operations.
Symptoms Of Meningitis
Signs or symptoms of meningitis can appear from one to four weeks after the steroidal spinal injection and can include any of the following:
- nausea and vomiting
- sensitivity to light
- stiff muscles in the neck
- mental confusion
- slurred speech
- difficulty walking or loss of balance
- difficulty urinating
The Need for an Attorney
Fungal meningitis can be fatal. It is especially dangerous for people with weakened immune systems, including those with diabetes, cancer or HIV. If you or a loved one have been exposed to steroids and are experiencing any related symptoms, you should seek medical care immediately. Drug manufacturers have a duty to produce safe products that are used by the public. When defective drugs cause injury to unsuspecting victims, the manufacturer must be held accountable.