Nearly 600 people have become infected by a fungus from contaminated steroid shots made by a compounding pharmacy, and 37 have died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC has been updating the number of people infected on a weekly basis, and is reporting 49 new cases of infection and one additional death since last Monday. Everyone infected received at least one injection from thee lots of a preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (MPA), a steroid shot that is commonly injected into the spinal cord to relieve back or neck pain, or into joints such as the shoulder or ankle, to relieve joint pain.
The shots were manufactured by New England Compounding Center (NECC), where investigators have since found serious sterility issues. Not only were the three lots of steroids recalled but all additional products produced by the pharmacy were withdrawn as well.
About 18,000 shots from the three contaminated lots were distributed to 26 states, and an estimated 14,000 people received the tainted shots since late May. The shots were recalled in late September, however people are still reporting symptoms several weeks and months after exposure.
The shots were contaminated with a fungus that developed into meningitis for 368 of the 590 infected. Eight people suffered a stroke caused by the fungus. Another 192 people developed paraspinal or spinal infections. Twenty-one were diagnosed with peripheral joint infections, and one person is listed as having a paraspinal/spinal infection plus peripheral joint infection.
Some patients with meningitis had other infections diagnosed in addition. To date, all of these other infections have been paraspinal/spinal infections. The one patient reported to have a peripheral joint infection and a spinal/paraspinal infection had both a joint infection and a spinal/paraspinal injection.
The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are continuing to follow the deadly multistate fungal infection outbreak, and will continue to update the number of infections and deaths every Monday.