A meningitis outbreak has killed 11 in the United States, including one victim in Virginia and another in Maryland, reports USA Today.
There have been 119 reported cases of the unusual strain of fungal meningitis according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has been linked to defective steroid shots used to treat back pain. The pharmacy that provided the steroid shots, New England Compounding Center based in Massachusetts, issued a recall of the drugs on September 26th. That recall has been expanded to include every product the pharmacy produces.
Other victims who have died as a result of the steroid injections include residents in Tennessee and Michigan. So far, the outbreak has spread across 10 states, with non-lethal reports of infection in Indiana, Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey and Ohio.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has plans to increase its oversight of compounding pharmacies as a result of the outbreak. “Compounding” involves the creation of a drug that is similar to one already on the market and has been approved by the FDA. These copycat drugs do not need to be tested for safety and efficacy to be sold on the market along side the original.
It is not yet clear how many individuals could still come down with meningitis, so the FDA and CDCP will just have to wait and see.
We’ll keep you updated as this story unfolds.