In continuing fungal meningitis outbreak news, NECC has surrendered its license to do business in Tennessee, the state hardest hit with infections and deaths. This is permanent, opposed to other states, like Ohio, temporarily suspending NECC’s license, an attorney for Tennessee's board of health told reporters.
The FDA has also issued a statement possibly linking two more NECC products to fungal meningitis. One is the epidural steroid triamcinolone acetonide, which is similar to the methylprednisolone acetate injection that has sickened over 200 people in 15 states. The other is cardioplegic solution which paralyzes heart muscles during open heart surgery in order to prevent injury and may have caused Aspergillus fumigatus infection in two transplant patients.
“FDA has not confirmed that these three infections were, in fact, caused by an NECC product,” the agency’s October 15 advisory stated. However, “the sterility of any injectable drugs, including ophthalmic drugs that are injectable or used in conjunction with eye surgery, and cardioplegic solutions produced by NECC are of significant concern, and out of an abundance of caution, patients who received these products should be alerted to the potential risk of infection.”
The advisory further suggested that healthcare professionals should follow up with any patient who was injected with an NECC product distributed after May 21, 2012. Those patients should be wary of any of the following symptoms:
- Stiff neck
- Nausea and vomiting
- Light sensitivity
Due to the inclusion of opthalmic and cardioplegic solution products, other possible NECC contamination symptoms may include:
- Swelling, pain, redness, or warmth where the product was injected
- Visual changes, pain, redness or discharge from the eye
- Chest pain
- Drainage from the surgical site (infection within the chest).
The CDC has previously said that early detection and treatment may improve the patient's outcome. If you experience any of these symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately.