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Meningitis outbreak may continue as new cases surface

United States health officials believe that the fungal meningitis outbreak of 2012 could have been much worse than it was. The fungal meningitis caused by a tainted steroid injection has killed 39 people and infected 620 people in 19 states this year. The defective product produced by the New England Compounding Center has killed 6 percent of the patients infected by the outbreak so far.

Similar outbreaks in history have had a higher mortality rate than the present outbreak. Officials believe that due to the prompt action of state and federal public health agencies, including those located in the state of New York doctors and hospitals were able to prevent the outbreak from becoming more serious.

State and the federal agencies took control of the outbreak as soon as the first case of meningitis surfaced. Officials concluded that the source of the infection might have been from a single ambulatory surgical center. The U.S Food and Drug Administration ordered the NECC to recall the three lots of dangerous drugs distributed to 76 facilities across 23 different states.

The agencies engaged in the task of getting information from approximately 14,000 patients who might have been exposed to the drug. Officials are still preparing a list of patients who may have been exposed so they can be properly informed of any risk.

Agency efforts have been successful in reducing the rate of death. However, the incubation period in cases varies as some have become apparent on the first day and some have taken as long as 120 days.

The chance of more people developing symptoms of meningitis cannot be ruled out. In fact, doctors are getting new cases of spinal infection related to the tainted injection every day.

Patients falling victim to this outbreak or any other tainted or defective medical product should be aware of their legal rights and act quickly to claim compensation under a product liability lawsuit. Victims should consult an experienced legal professional who can help victims recover financial compensation for the damages caused.

Source: Fox News, “CDC: Fungal meningitis outbreak could have been much worse,” Dec. 20, 2012