The ramifications of the recalled spinal steroid situation continues to make waves across the eastern part of the country, including in Illinois. As we have repeatedly discussed, nearly 17,000 vials of a steroid used for back pain was contaminated with fungus at the New England Compounding Center (NECC). Some of those vials made their way to Illinois and were eventually given to patients at three different pain centers in and around Chicago. The contamination and injection exposed those patients to a very rare, but life-threatening form of brain and spinal cord inflammation known as fungal meningitis. It arises when a fungus enters the body and inflames certain membranes that protect the brain and spinal cord. It goes without saying that all those affected by this situation must act carefully.
According to the latest information provided on the CDC website on the matter, a second case of meningitis has been identified in Illinois, and counts in several other states have also gone up in recent weeks. Please take a look at this map to get an idea of the total scope of the current problem and the areas that have been hit the hardest. According to the latest data–which is consistently updated–there have been a total of 404 infections and 29 deaths. However, as has been noted, the incubation period for this fungal meningitis is particularly long. That means that it is premature to say that all those who received the contaminated injection are out of the woods. They are not. We encouarge all local residents to remain vigilant about their own health and those of loved ones who may have been exposed to this outrageous contamination.
The Basics: Meningitis Outbreak
According to the Illinois Department of Health, at least three clinic in Illinois dispensed the contaminated spinal steroid injection to patients over the last few months at the APAC Centers for Pain Management. Those locations were the Thorek Hospital Professional Building in Chicago, APAC Lincoln Park, and the facility located in Westchester, Illinois. All told, local health officials believe that about 350 Illinois residents received the contaminated drugs. It is critical that those individuals be incredibly vigilant about their health and well-being to ensure their safety. In addition, those individuals should act prudently to preserve their legal rights.
As we have previously noted, the signs of fungal meningitis include speech issues, numbness, severe headaches, fever, and sensitivity to light. Not all symptoms will necessarily manifest in patients with the meningitis. In addition, the symptoms may only be mild to start. In that way, some patients may not receive the immediate attention they need if they wait too long to receive medical help.
Following federal and state investigations in the NECC in recent weeks, CDC officials have expanded the concerns to include other drugs made at the NECC beyond the spinal steroids. That includes various medications used in eye surgery and open heart surgery. There is less information currently available regarding where these risks are most concentrated, so those who might have received any sort of tainted drug should follow news on these issues closely.
Legal Help for Meningitis in Illinois
The attorneys at our firm remain committed to helping protect the legal rights of all those throughout the state who have been affected in various ways by this dangerous drug situation. We are currently investigating the details of the matter to best understand how the legal cases that will undoubedtly stem from this contamination will play out. Please take a moment to reach out to our office to learn more. There is nothing to lose from making contact and ensuring that your legal rights are protected.
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