The Associated Press reports that hundreds of people are now threatened by meningitis after an unexpected outbreak made 35 victims. The Food and Drug Administration has issued a statement asking hospitals and clinics not to use the steroid treatment that is believed was responsible for the meningitis outbreak.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now dealing with a new health challenge after 35 cases of meningitis have been identified in five states. According to their reports, the situation could get a lot worse in the future and hundreds of people could develop the disease. Already five persons were declared dead in Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, North Carolina and Indiana.
The immediate action that the Food and Drug Administration adopted was to prohibit other clinics across the United States to use steroid injections and any other medicines that have been produced by the Massachusetts pharmacy. The meningitis outbreak was linked to a fungus that was identified in steroid treatments. The injections were administered to hundreds of patients with back pains, so health officials fear the number of victims could increase in the near future.
Massachusetts health officials told the press that the pharmacy recalled three lots containing 17,676 single-dose vials of the steroid, preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate. The vials were sent to various clinics across the 23 states between the months of July and September. Luckily, several hundred vials were sent back to the Massachusetts pharmacy without being used. The rest of them, however, have been administered and it is estimated that hundreds, if not thousands, of people received the shots. In Evansville 500 people requested the steroid shot, whereas in Tennessee their number rose to 900 persons.
The first cases of meningitis were identified two weeks ago in Tennessee. The following weeks could bring a significant rise in the number of affected patients as the first symptoms may appear somewhere between several days and a month. People who received steroid treatments recently should schedule a medical appointment in order to see whether they have been infected or not.