As if the situation wasn’t serious enough when it was determined that 14,000 people may have been exposed to the tainted medication methylprednisolone acetate from injections into their backs, along comes the news that other medications from the New England Compounding Center have been linked with two new cases of fungal meningitis.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration Releases Updated Statement on Outbreak
On Monday, the FDA released a statement that two transplant patients and a person who had received an injection for pain into a joint had been reported to the agency as having fungal meningitis. Upon further investigation, the FDA today reported that one transplant patient and the person who received the joint injection were the newest confirmed cases of the rare infection.
Both of these people received a drug that had been distributed by NECC, the compounding pharmacy whose medication has been linked to the initial fungal meningitis cases.
More Contacts for Health Care Providers to Make
The FDA recommended on Monday that health care providers contact anyone who had an invasive procedure (injection, surgery) performed after May 21, 2012 to inform those people of their risk of exposure to the fungus causing the outbreak.
These contacts will include people who have had joint injections, surgery requiring use of a cardioplegic solution or eye surgery.
At this time, there are no cases of fungal meningitis following eye surgery, but it is a precaution the FDA cites as necessary because NECC supplied medications used specifically in eye surgery.
Symptoms of Fungal Meningitis and Possible Adverse Effects from Drugs
There are two types of symptoms that health care providers will be cautioning those they contact to observe for. If someone you love or care for is one of the people contacted by their physician, you can help observe for the symptoms as well, particularly because the symptoms of the fungal meningitis may occur over a long period of time, and only one or two of the symptoms may be present.
Symptoms of fungal meningitis: Nausea and vomiting, fever, headaches that worsens over time, stiff neck, change in mental status, or sensitivity to light.
Symptoms that may indicate problems/conditions/infection related to procedure done: Eyes may become painful or sore, have drainage or redness, vision may be impaired; chest pain or drainage from surgical site; redness, pain, swelling to injection site.
If you have had any of these procedures done and begin to see the above symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately. The sooner the infection is diagnosed and treated, the better your chance for a positive outcome.