One more person has died from fungal meningitis linked to tainted steroid injections in the United States, bringing the death toll for the outbreak to 15, ABC reported on Sunday.
A total of 198 people in 13 states have contracted fungal meningitis after receiving spinal injections of methylprednisolone acetate for back pain. One person has contracted a joint infection after receiving an injection for ankle pain, the ABC television network reported, citing US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.
As many as 14,000 people are believed to have been exposed to the suspect steroid made by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, Mass. Fifty sealed vials of the drug, which the Food and Drug Administration obtained, were found to contain the fungus. NECC has recalled all of its products and shut down operations.
Seventy-six clinics in 23 states, which received methylprednisolone acetate from the recalled lots, have been instructed to notify all affected patients. The "potentially contaminated injections were given starting May 21, 2012," the CDC said.
Meningitis causes the inflammation of the membranous lining of the brain and spinal cord. Early symptoms of fungal meningitis, such as headache, fever, dizziness, nausea, sensitivity to light, weakness or numbness, slurred speech and pain, redness or swelling can take more than a month to appear.