Fungal meningitis lawsuits are being filed throughout the U.S., after contaminated epidural steroid injections distributed by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) were linked to hundreds of illnesses in more than a dozen states,nationwide , including some deaths. While an NECC epidural steroid recall was announced in September 2012, the illness and death toll from the fungal meningitis outbreak continues to climb. Fungal meningitis lawsuits are now being filed on behalf of patients who were treated with NECC steroids after May 21, 2012, and developed any of the following problems:

• Fungal Meningitis

• Stroke (related to fungal meningitis)

• Osteomyelitis or worsening inflammatory arthritis of a peripheral joint (e.g., knee or shoulder)

• Osteomyelitis or abscess at the site of a spinal injection

Victims of the fungal meningitis outbreak face a long and uncertain road to recovery. If you or a loved one developed fungal meningitis or another ailment from contaminated steroids, we urge you to call one of our lawyers today to learn more about filing a fungal meningitis lawsuit.

NECC Epidural Steroid Recall

In September 2012, NECC recalled three lots – 17,000 vials – of preservative-free methylprednilosone acetate used in epidural steroid treatments to relieve back pain. The recalled epidural steroids were distributed to 76 facilities in 23 states. Some 14,000 people are known to have been injected with one of the contaminated steroids. Following the NECC epidural steroid recall, the company shut down production. NECC ultimately recalled all of its products and surrendered its license to operate on October 6, 2012. The firm is now the subject of a criminal investigation.

Symptoms of Meningitis

Meningitis is swelling of the protective membranes, or meninges, covering the brain and spinal cord. While meningitis is often the result of a virus, it can also be caused by fungus. The presence of a fungus known as Exserohilum rostratum, known more commonly as “black mold,” has been detected in unopened medication vials of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate steroid injections prepared and distributed by NECC. This fungus is responsible for a nationwide outbreak of a rare strain of fungal meningitis that has sickened hundreds of people throughout the country. Symptoms of meningitis associated with recalled epidural steroid injections may include:

• New or worsening headache

• Fever

• Sensitivity to light

• Stiff neck

• New weakness or numbness in any part of your body

• Slurred speech

• Increased pain, redness or swelling at your injection site

Joint Infections from Contaminated Steroid Injections

While most people sickened in this fungal meningitis outbreak received the tainted steroid injections to treat back pain, some developed infections in a joint after receiving a steroid injection in their ankle, shoulder or knee. Symptoms of these infections may include:

• Fever

• Increased pain

• Redness, warmth, or swelling in the joint that received the injection or at the injection site

Other NECC Medications Implicated in Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

When NECC recalled all of its drugs on October 6, the recall was characterized as precautionary. However, since then at least two other medications prepared by NECC have attracted scrutiny. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), at least one case of fungal meningitis has been reported in a patient who was administered triamcinolone acetonide, another steroid injection prepared by NECC. Two additional infections have been reported in transplant patients who received NECC cardioplegic solution during surgery. In a statement, the FDA said it has not yet confirmed if the additional drugs did in fact cause the three patients’ illnesses. But the agency is advising that doctors avoid using any product prepared by NECC.

How to File a Fungal Meningitis Lawsuit

If you or a loved one were treated with an injectable steroid after May 21, 2012, and later diagnosed with fungal meningitis or other ailment associated with contaminated steroid injections, you could be eligible to pursue a fungal meningitis lawsuit. Our fungal meningitis lawyers may be able to help you obtain compensation for any medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering caused by these contaminated medications. Please contact Bernstein Liebhard LLP at (877) 779-1414 today. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the legal process for filing a fungal meningitis lawsuit.

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Published October 22, 2012 by