The FDA, CDC, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health continue to investigate an outbreak of fungal meningitis among patients who received contaminated steroid injections. As of November 7, 2012, a total of 414 cases of fungal meningitis, stroke due to presumed fungal meningitis, or other CNS-related infection have been diagnosed, and 31 people have died.
The outbreak has been linked to three lots of methylprednisolone acetate, an injectable steroid used to treat pain and swelling associated with arthritis and other joint disorders, manufactured by the New England Compounding Center (NECC). In addition, a patient who received an epidural injection of triamcinolone acetonide produced by NECC may now have meningitis, according to the FDA. Triamcinolone acetonide is an injectable steroid used to treat arthritis. The FDA has not yet confirmed that the infections were caused by an NECC product.
The FDA advises health care providers not to use any products made at NECC. “At this point in the FDA’s investigation, the sterility of any injectable drugs, including ophthalmic drugs that are injectable or used in conjunction with eye surgery, and cardioplegic solutions produced by NECC are of significant concern,” Stephen King, public affairs specialist at the FDA, told Neurology Reviews.
Although patients who received injections of NECC’s methylprednisolone acetate are still at risk, the outbreak has been contained and the product recalls have foreclosed the possibility of further infections, said Avindra Nath, MD, Chief, Section of Infections of the Nervous System and Clinical Director of NINDS in Bethesda, Maryland, in an interview with Neurology Reviews.