Saturday May 25, 2013
35 Deaths from Fungal Meningitis: Victims Received Spinal Steroid Shots for Back PainJoy Graves Salem-News.com
The company that supplied the steroid is what is known as a "Compounding pharmacy".
(PORTLAND, OR) - 35 people in six states — Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, North Carolina and Indiana — have contracted fungal meningitis, five of them have died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. All victims so far received spinal steroid shots for back pain, which is a highly common treatment option, but officials wonder and question of the victim list stops there.
Officials report that as of Thursday, they realized that hundreds If not thousands of people who received steroid shots for back pain between July and September could have been contaminated with a fungus tied to a deadly meningitis outbreak now sweeping through the east cost of the United States at the hand of one pharmacy.
The pharmacy involved is called "The New England Compounding Center", and they are located in Framingham, Mass. They have recalled "three lots" consisting of a total of 17,676 single-dose vials of the steroid, preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate, according to Massachusetts health officials.
This Shocking news came after investigators earlier this week reported to have found the contaminate in a sealed vial at the company itself onsite.
"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention" reported that the steroid suspected in the fungal meningitis outbreak in the South has already made its way to 75 clinics in 23 states thus far, making many sick and even killing 5 people.
Officials are scrambling to figure out how many of these contaminated shots were already actually administered to the public and whether or not all of the administered shots were actually contaminated with the potentially deadly fungus.
So far, it's reported that "several hundred" vials or so have been returned unused, and officials fear the fact that there are many more out there that have and or are about to be used unknowingly on the public, so this report goes out with Severe Urgency - Please let Everyone you know out east KNOW about this information and situation Immediately so they can beware!
As of right now, more than 500 patients received contaminated shots, confirmed officials. Also they note that at two clinics in Tennessee alone, more than 900 patients if not more have also received the likely contaminated injections as well.
The first known case in this outbreak was diagnosed two weeks ago in Tennessee, which is where 25 of the cases have been confirmed, including three deaths. However, deaths have also been reported in Virginia and Maryland as well.
As mentioned above, so far, 35 people in six states — Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, North Carolina and Indiana have been confirmed to have victims whom received the shots specifically for back pain, and who Now have fungal meningitis which steroid shots are a highly common treatment method used for chronic pain management.
Because symptoms of the infection can vary from "a few days to a month", as well as the need for public awareness regarding this situation, officials note that they do expect the number of victims to rise over the next few weeks. They are advising local area hospital emergency rooms that they may begin seeing an increase in potential victims.
Symptoms to be watchful for include: severe headache, nausea, drowsiness, dizziness and or confusion, fever, neck stiffness, irritability, vomiting, an increased sensitivity to light and or loud noises, and possibly even a rash.
Additionally with infants & children, symptoms will often include in infants up to 6 months of age, bulging of the fontanelle. (the soft spot on top of a baby's head)
Other features that might distinguish meningitis from less severe illnesses in young children are leg pain, cold extremities, and an abnormal skin color
Because the symptoms are so seemingly mild, officials fear that many may hesitate seeking medical attention under the impression of simply suffering a mere cold or flu.
Realistically though, Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, which IS deemed "life threatening" so no matter how minimal the symptoms, people who have either had such shots, or have taken ANY medications from this company are urged to seek medical attention IF you begin experiencing ANY such symptoms.
Though the type of fungal meningitis involved is not contagious like the more common forms (It is caused by a fungus that's widespread but very rarely causes illness.) It will need to be treated with "high-dose anti fungal medications", which are usually given intravenously in a hospital. More severe cases may require hospitalization in the ICU, and could warrant mechanical ventilation
People with meningitis may develop additional problems in the early stages of their illness. These may require specific treatment, and sometimes indicate severe illness or worse prognosis. The infection may trigger sepsis, a systemic inflammatory response syndrome of falling blood pressure, fast heart rate, high or abnormally low temperature and rapid breathing.
Very low blood pressure may occur early, especially but not exclusively in meningococcal illness; this may lead to insufficient blood supply to other organs. Disseminated intravascular coagulation, the excessive activation of blood clotting, may cause both the obstruction of blood flow to organs and a paradoxical increase of bleeding risk.
There are a number of risk factors for fungal meningitis including the use of immuno suppressants (such as after organ transplantation), HIV/AIDS, and the loss of immunity associated with aging. It is uncommon in those with a normal immune system.
In children there are several potential disabilities which may result from damage to the nervous system including: sensory neural hearing loss, epilepsy, learning and behavioral difficulties, as well as decreased intelligence. These occur in about 15% of survivors.
Although Some of the hearing loss may be reversible, in adults, 66% of all cases emerge without disability. The main problems are deafness (in 14%) and cognitive impairment (in 10%).
If only this risk and threat stopped here...
Friday, the FDA released a list of about 30 medications distributed by the company, including other steroids, anesthetics and blood pressure medicine.
Massachusetts health officials said the company has a pending complaint against it from earlier this year, which related specifically to the potency of a medication that was used in an eye surgery. It appears unrelated to the current outbreak, said Dr. Madeleine Biondolillo, director of the state's Bureau of Healthcare Safety, but still, it is but another Previous complaint to note.
Biondolillo also said that there were 2 Prior complaints, including one for "sterile compounding procedures", were both resolved in 2006. The pharmacy was inspected and cleared by the state Department of Public Health last year "after relocating its operations on the same site", she said.
The Officials state: "Out of an abundance of caution, we advise all health care practitioners not to use any product" from the company, said Ilisa Bernstein, director of compliance for the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research team.
The company that supplied the steroid is what is known as a "Compounding pharmacy". These pharmacies custom-mix solutions, creams and other medications in doses or in forms that generally aren't commercially available.
Compounding pharmacies are not regulated as closely as drug manufacturers, and their products are not subject to FDA approval. A national shortage of many drugs has forced doctors to seek custom-made alternatives from compounding pharmacies.
Other compounding pharmacies have been blamed in recent years for serious and sometimes deadly outbreaks caused by contaminated medicines. In fact, Two people were blinded in Washington, D.C., in 2005, Three died in Virginia in 2006 and three more in Oregon died the following year from other "Compounding Pharmacies Alternative Products".
Earlier this year alone, 33 people in seven states developed fungal eye infections. and those are just the Human statistics! 21 polo horses died in Florida in 2009 from these "alternative" concoctions as well!
New England Compounding Center said in a statement Thursday that despite the FDA warning, "there is no indication of any potential issues with other products." It called the deaths and illnesses tragic and added: "The thoughts and prayers of everyone employed by NECC are with those who have been affected."
Joy Maxine Graves, published author, cannabis reporter and photographer is best known for her involvement as a Cannabis Freedom Fighting Activist. Joy has shown herself to be quite the trooper when it comes to fighting for as well as defending Truth, Justice & Honor, for protecting the "weaker guy", and for standing her ground when faced with nothing but hate and diversity. As the #2 most beloved personal "Jack's Girl" to the Emperor of Hemp himself (Jack Herer, RIP) for more than 13 years, which is how Salem-News.com encountered her by the way, we soon-after couldn't help but to noticed her flare for
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