Framingham, MAAccording to federal investigators, more evidence has been found linking the meningitis fungus and the New England Compounding Center, the pharmacy at the center of the deadly, multi-state meningitis outbreak.
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In a joint statement issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration, the agencies state they have “confirmed the presence of the fungus, known as Exserohilum rostratum, in unopened medication vials of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (80mg/ml) from one of the three implicated lots from NECC (Lot #08102012@51, BUD 2/6/2013). The laboratory confirmation further links steroid injections from these lots from NECC to the multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis and joint infections. Testing on the other two implicated lots of methylprednisolone acetate and other NECC injectable medications continues.”
Data on the CDC
website show the death toll has now reached 20, with a case load of 257 patients in 16 states. According to estimates by the CDC and state health departments approximately 14,000 patients may have received injections with medication from the three implicated lots of methylprednisolone and nearly 97 percent have now been contacted for further follow-up.
All three lots of the steroid were recalled last month by the NECC, and officials have said all of the illnesses have been traced to one of those lots.