The number of people infected with a rare type of meningitis tied to contaminated steroid injections has climbed to 105, federal health officials said Monday. Eight people have died.The drugs were given starting May 21, much earlier than previously suspected, officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Infections and deaths have been reported in nine states. As many as 13,000 patients may have been exposed to the potentially contaminated drugs recalled from a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy, officials added.
The contaminated drugs have been traced to the New England Compounding Center, a single compounding pharmacy. The pharmacy has closed voluntarily, relinquished its state license and recalled its products, which include steroids, painkillers and dozens of other drugs. At least one sealed vial of drug has been found to have fungus growing in it, the Food and Drug Administration said. The FDA does not regulate pharmacies like the one in Massachusetts but can be called in when contamination is suspected.
Compounding pharmacies usually make drugs to order, and the steroids suspected of causing the infections did not contain preservatives that can keep fungi and bacteria from growing.
The pharmacy sent products to clinics in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, and West Virginia, the CDC says.