health

Fungal meningitis outbreak reported in at least 10 states

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Oct. 15, 2012

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A multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis has infected at least 119 people and led to 11 deaths since the first reported case on Sept. 21, according to Oct. 9 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration are working with state health departments to determine the source of the infections. But officials say the outbreak could be associated with potentially contaminated medication.

Meningitis cases have been reported in Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia. This type of meningitis is not transmissible from person to person, the CDC said.

All of the infected patients received epidural injections of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (80 mg/ml) that were prepared by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., the CDC said. The FDA detected fungal contamination in particulate matter taken from a sealed vial of methylprednisolone acetate that was collected from the compounding center. Foreign materials also were identified in other vials produced by the New England company, the CDC said (link).

On Oct. 3, the company stopped all production and initiated recall of all methylprednisolone acetate and other drugs prepared at the compounding center for intrathecal administration. The CDC said health professionals should stop using, and remove from their pharmacy inventories, products made by the New England Compounding Center. Physicians also should contact patients who received injections of the product from any of the recalled lots to see if they are experiencing symptoms.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/10/15/hlbf1015.htm.

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