Published Date: 2012-10-04 10:49:49
Subject: PRO/EDR> Aspergillus meningitis - USA (02): contaminated drug
Archive Number: 20121004.1322744
ASPERGILLUS MENINGITIS - USA (02): CONTAMINATED DRUG
A ProMED-mail post
ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases
Date: Wed 3 Oct 2012
Source: Associated Press [edited]
An outbreak of a rare and deadly form of meningitis has now sickened 26 people in 5 states who received steroid injections, health officials said Wed 3 Oct 2012. 4 people have died.
18 of the cases are in Tennessee where a Nashville clinic received the largest shipment of the steroid suspected in the outbreak. The drug was made by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts that has since issued a recall.
3 cases have been reported in Virginia, 2 in Maryland, 2 in Florida, and 1 in North Carolina. 2 of the deaths were in Tennessee; Virginia and Maryland had 1 each, the CDC said. More new cases are almost certain to appear in the coming days, said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner. Cases in that state began in July 2012 and 5 new cases were confirmed over the past 24 hours, he said Wed 3 Oct 2012.
Investigators have been looking into at least 3 different products used for the back injections that could have been tainted by the fungus that appears to be behind the illnesses. None of the products have been ruled out. However, the primary suspicion is on steroid medication, which is commonly used for back pain.
The FDA identified the maker of the steroid as the New England Compounding Center, a specialty pharmacy in Framingham, Massachusetts. Last week [week of 24 Sep 2012], the company issued a recall of 3 lots of the steroid. Company officials could not be immediately reached Wednesday afternoon, 3 Oct 2012, by telephone; the company's website was unavailable.
An infectious diseases specialist at Vanderbilt University says he believes the country will see more cases in the upcoming weeks. Dr. William Schaffner chairs Vanderbilt's Department of Preventive Medicine. He has been following the investigation into the cause of the infection since it was first detected in a patient at the university's hospital about 2 weeks ago. Schaffner said he believes part of the reason for the Nashville cluster is early detection.
[More cases and more states are involved. To date, the mold has not yet been isolated from the suspected vehicle and the species of _Aspergillus_ has not been stated. - Mod.LL
A HealthMap/ProMED-mail map can be accessed at: http://healthmap.org/r/1hiS.]