Four people have died and more than 30 patients are sick due to meningitis outbreak which has now reached five states. So far cases have appeared in Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia and Maryland. It is feared that the outbreak might spread to other states because they have already received shipments of the contaminated drug by New England Compounding Center, A Massachusetts pharmacy. Experts fear that the number of cases will rise in the coming few days.
The patients are thought to have been infected by a steroid drug contaminated with a fungus, Aspergillus manufactured by The New England Compounding Center, A Massachusetts pharmacy. The Pharmacy recalled 3 lots of injections on Sep 26, but Tennessee clinic had already received 2000 vials of the drug, as per the New York Times.
Meningitis does not spread from person to person, but it can cause inflammation of the braining lining, or central nervous systems. The common symptoms of Meningitis include severe headaches, fever and slurred speech.
There are about 3000 Compounding Pharmacies in the United States. These pharmacies prepare customized drug mixtures and these pharmacies are not held to the same safety standards. These pharmacies are not subjected to FDA inspection.
While some patients are showing signs of recovery, others are still recuperating in intensive care units. Fungal infections like Meningitis are stubborn and it can take upto a year to treat the disease.