What is Fungal Meningitis?
Fungal meningitis is inflammation of the meninges (protective covering around the brain and spinal cord) that occurs when fungal spores infect cerebrospinal fluid. The disease can cause abscesses, stroke, fluid in the brain, brain damage, nerve damage, and death.
Fungal Meningitis Treatment
Fungal meningitis is treated in a hospital intensive care unit (ICU), and patients are typically given intravenous anti-fungal medications. Treatment can take up to six months, and the drugs have serious side effects that can cause long-term complications in addition to the complications of meningitis.
Multi-State Outbreak of Fungal Meningitis Infections
In September 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began investigating a multi-state outbreak of fungal meningitis in patients who received contaminated epidural steroid injections from New England Compounding Pharmacy (NECC) in Framingham, Massachusetts. Investigators learned that the compounding pharmacy distributed 17,000 vials of the medicine without individual patient prescriptions — essentially acting like a mini-pharmaceutical company, mass-producing medicines and selling them throughout the United States.
An FDA inspection of NECC identified the following health and safety problems:
- Shipment of medicines before tests confirmed that they were sterile.
- Visibly soiled mats prior to “clean room” entry.
- Leaky boiler creating environment prone to contaminant growth.
- Failure to test a machine used to sterilize potential contaminants.
- Facility located adjacent to a recycling center where a major fire occurred in September 2009 — YouTube video — owned and operated by the same family.
- And more
By the end of the outbreak, the CDC case count totaled 751 infections (meningitis, paraspinal infections, stroke, or peripheral joint infection) and 64 deaths in 20 states. The predominant fungus was Exserohilum rostratum, which was previously a rare cause of illness, making treatment complex. Several patients relapsed after they were supposedly cured.
Fungal Meningitis Lawsuit Settlements
In December 2013, the bankrupt owners of NECC established a $100 million compensation fund to pay off creditors and compensate hundreds of people who filed fungal meningitis lawsuits. In early 2014, several clinics agreed to settlements with people who were infected after receiving contaminated infections. The first federal trials are set to begin in mid-2015.
Symptoms of Fungal Meningitis
- Severe headache that gets worse
- Injection site is painful, red, swollen
- Neck stiffness
- Nausea, vomiting
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of balance, falling
- Slurred speech
- Sensitivity to light and noise
- Changes in personality
- Loss of consciousness
Do I have a Fungal Meningitis Class Action Lawsuit?
The Product Liability & Defective Drug Litigation Group at our law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in fungal meningitis lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.
Free Fungal Meningitis Class Action Lawsuit Evaluation: Again, if you or a loved one was injured by fungal meningitis, you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by joining a fungal meningitis class action lawsuit or by filing a fungal meningitis lawsuit, and we can help.