A form of meningitis typically caused by fungus found in leaf mold may be the result of contaminated preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate manufactured by the New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Massachusetts. As of October 2012, 35 cases of fungal meningitis, including five deaths, have been linked to the contaminated steroid injections, which are commonly used to treat back pain. The actual scope of the problem, however, may be much larger, potentially affecting thousands of patients in the US. The New England Compounding Center has since recalled three lots, over 17,000 vials, of the medication and the FDA and CDC have warned against using products manufactured by the company.
Parker Waichman offers free legal consultation to fungal meningitis patients who received a methylprednisolone acetate steroid injection manufactured by the New England Compounding Center. If you or a loved one developed fungal meningitis and you received one of these injections, our attorneys would like to speak to you. Please contact the personal injury and product liability lawyers at Parker Waichman LLP for a free, no obligation evaluation of your case.
What is Fungal Meningitis?
Meningitis is a condition that causes inflammation of the membranes, or meninges, around the brain and spinal cord.
It can be caused by a viral, bacterial or fungal infection. The contaminated vials of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate were tainted with a non-contagious fungal form of meningitis normally caused by fungi in leaf mold. According to the Meningitis Research Foundation, most cases of fungal meningitis are caused by a fungus known as Cryptococcus neoformans.
Fungal meningitis is treated with high doses of antifungal medication. Usually, the medication is administered intravenously in a hospital setting. Early detection and treatment can improve the chances of survival. Meningitis can cause neurological damage such as blindness, hearing loss, memory problems, behavioral problems, paralysis, loss of speech and brain damage. It can also cause complications such as adrenal gland failure, kidney failure, shock and death.
How Do I Know If I Have Fungal Meningitis?
Seek medical attention right away if you think you have meningitis. Typical signs may include:
- High fever
- Severe headache
- Stiff neck
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sensitivity to bright lights
- Confusion or difficulty concentrating
Unlike bacterial meningitis, symptoms of fungal meningitis usually appear gradually. Early signs may be mistaken for the flu. According to a report in CBS News, meningitis cases linked to the contaminated vials also reported mild stroke symptoms such as slurred speech, difficulty walking and difficulty urinating.