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NECC News: NECC cuts jobs, FDA investigates more products

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In developing fungal meningitis outbreak news, NECC, the compounding pharmacy that caused the contamination, has cut its workforce in half, and the FDA is investigating more NECC products that may have infected patients.

NECC’s statement announced that the “workforce reduction” was a “necessary step under the current circumstances.”

After learning of a potential meningitis case linked to NECC’s epidural steroid triamcinolone acetonide and two potential Aspergillus fumigatus infections linked to NECC’s cardioplegic solution, the FDA has advised doctors to contact any patient who received an injection purchased from or produced by NECC after May 21, 2012.

“Additionally, the FDA is concerned about the NECC's ophthalmic drugs used in injections or in connection with eye surgery, because they're processed under similar conditions,” Fox News writer Jonathan Serrie reported this morning. “However, no infections associated with the NECC's ophthalmic drugs have been reported so far.”

Previously, NECC’s epidural steroid methylprednisolone acetate, found to have been contaminated with Exserohilum rostratum and Aspergillus, was the sole culprit in 214 fungal meningitis cases and 15 deaths. The FDA’s announcement that it is widening its investigation into other NECC products was “ominous,” infectious disease expert William Schaffner, MD, told CBS This Morning on Tuesday.

“We’re nowhere near the end of this problem,” he continued.

An infectious disease expert speaking at this week’s American Society of Anesthesiologists meeting being held in Washington, D.C., reportedly advised primary physicians to ask patients complaining of nausea if they’ve had an epidural steroid shot this year.

“Nausea has been a common symptom among affected patients,” Dr. Mark Abbruzzese stated.

Vomiting, headaches, fever and chills often indicate flu this time of year, but these are also fungal meningitis symptoms. If you feel ill and were injected with an epidural steroid between May and October, seek medical attention. The CDC stated earlier this month that early detection and treatment with antifungal therapy may save a patient’s life.

Related posts:

NECC News: Ohio Clinics from Akron to Zanesville that Received NECC Drugs May-October 2012

NECC News: Fungal Meningitis Lawsuits Filed in Minnesota, Michigan, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Virginia (updated October 17)

NECC News: Two More Injections Possibly Linked to Fungal Meningitis Outbreak per FDA

NECC News: Ameridose Employees Talk, Senators Ask Questions, & Candidate Gives Up Contribution

House of Representatives Wants to Speak with NECC and Woman Files First Meningitis Lawsuit

NECC Loses Ohio License and 2004 Meningitis Lawsuit Comes to Light

What Epidural Steroid Patients Need to Know about the NECC Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

2 Comments

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  1. lori bartow says:
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    I have has an facet block with this injection in Jan or Feb in my neck. also i had injections in my back i live in bend Oregon I have been sick throwing up last Friday for no real reason I thought it could be the flu or i ate something bad.I wound up in the emergency room in lake-view Oregon and was very dehydrated. They hooked me up with iv and sent me home.I have had a low fever for months. I have not felt very good for month off and on.do i anything to worry about this fungus has it gotten here yet thanks Lori

  2. up arrow

    Hi, Lori:
    I’m sorry to hear that you haven’t been feeling well. Oregon may have been spared from the meningitis outbreak, as it is not listed in the 23 states that received NECC’s epidural steroid.

    The 23 states that received preservative free methylprednisolone acetate among the three recalled lots include: California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, and West Virginia.

    Please note that the FDA has possibly linked two other NECC products to the outbreak — another epidural steroid and a drug injected into heart patients during surgery.

    If you continue to feel ill, don’t hesitate to seek medical treatment.

    Take care of yourself,
    Miranda