Fungal Meningitis Has Been Caused By Contaminated Medication

by Terry Bryant

Thousands of pregnant women may have been exposed to fungal meningitis due to contaminated medication. The New England Compound Center, or NECC, was responsible for producing epidural steroid injections for several medical facilities around the country. Compound centers are responsible for mixing drugs meant for specific medical purposes, but they aren’t as well regulated as drug manufacturers and aren’t subject to FDA approval.

Fungal meningitis is an acute infection of the tissues lining the brain. Compared to other forms of the disease, symptoms appear gradually. It usually takes a couple of weeks before the infection advances to dangerous complications, though a fever and headache may be present during this time. The illness has to be caught early, or permanent disabilities may occur. These may include hearing loss, hydrocephalus, cognitive impairment or epilepsy. Without treatment, death is likely to occur. Anyone who has received epidural steroid injections recently should contact the medical facility that administered the treatment and get screened for the disease.

The danger from this infection is caused by the body’s immune response. As soon as protective cells in the body recognize the invaders, they provoke a cascading response that eventually results in the blood brain barrier becoming permeable. While this helps white blood cells reach the site of the infection, it also causes the tissues lining the brain to swell. This puts pressure on the brain against the skull and deprives the area of oxygen. The sooner the fungal meningitis is diagnosed, the better the prognosis, but even when it is treated, 33 percent of patients suffer severe debilitations.

Anyone who has been diagnosed with the disease should consider consulting with a personal injury lawyer to determine if they are eligible for compensation.