Here are some key aspects to the fungal meningitis outbreak that has, as of Wednesday, killed two and sickened 37 in Virginia. Nationally, federal health officials say 19 have died and 247 have become ill.
- An 80-year-old Salem man filed a $5 million lawsuit today in Roanoke Circuit Court against the Massachusetts pharmacy company, New England Compounding Center, that made the injection that has been linked to the deadly outbreak. [Update: A 71-year-old Roanoke County woman filed a $10 million lawsuit against New England Compounding and Insight Imaging in Roanoke]
- Two Virginians have died, including an unidentified patient last week and Douglas Wingate. Wingate died Sept. 18 before investigators or health officials had identified the outbreak or the potentially contaminated steroid injections.
- Carilion Clinic and LewisGale Regional Health System have performed nearly 200 spinal taps as patients who received one of the New England Compounding steroid injections are tested for meningitis.
- So rare are these fungal infections that the best practices and evidence-based medicine for how to treat the illness don’t exist.
- “Two members of Congress have asked the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate whether a specialty pharmacy linked to a nationwide meningitis outbreak violated any federal laws or regulations,” according to the Associated Press.
- Criminal investigators from the Food and Drug Administration have visited New England Compounding as part of the investigation into the outbreak, according to AP.