Spinal meningitis is a type of infection that affects the membranes and bodily fluids in and around the spinal cord and brain. Without treatment meningitis is typically fatal. Unfortunately the condition can lay dormant for weeks, resolve itself, or progress very rapidly causing brain damage and death. In short, the infection is as unpredictable as it is dangerous.
How is Meningitis Spread?
Meningitis refers to a class of conditions that cause inflammation of the tissues around the brain. Although the condition can be caused by a bacteria, virus or fungus most infects in the United States are viral in nature. Although meningitis is not typically passed through casual contact, in can be passed through saliva such as when kissing. Traditionally, meningitis outbreaks have been associated with college dorm living.
However, in September of 2012 the CDC identified a new means of transmission for meningitis: spinal steroid injections administered at a doctor’s office or medical facility. The contaminated injections did not contain any preservatives and originated from New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts. The injections contained Exserohilum rostratum, a fungus that can cause meningitis in humans. This form of meningitis cannot be passed from person-to-person.
Those who received spinal steroid injections during the affected time period should seek a doctor. Furthermore, those who suffered adverse consequences and complications due to the contaminated may be entitled to monetary compensation for their illness, injuries, loss of wages, loss of consortium and more. Furthermore, if your loved one passed away due to meningitis following a spinal steroid injection, you may be entitled to bring a wrongful death suit on their behalf.
How Widespread was the Outbreak?
In all, 751 people were affected by the meningitis outbreak. The outbreak was distributed across 20 states mostly in the eastern portion of the United States, but California, Nevada, Texas, and Idaho all reported cases. Other states reporting spinal steroid injection meningitis cases included:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Unfortunately there were a total of 64 deaths due to these contaminated injections. If there is any silver lining to this tragedy it is that the CDC has announced that it does not anticipate any further infections or deaths due to this meningitis outbreak.
What are the Symptoms of Meningitis?
While every person’s unique physiology means that they may experience different symptoms, there are some that are commonly reported by many with meningitis. These include:
- Sudden high fever
- Joint pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sensitivity to bright light
- Neck stiffness
- Persistent headache or migraine
- General feeling of malaise
One of the most-pressing signs of meningitis is the purple or red skin rash that can develops. This can indicate that the individual has blood poisoning. Without immediate medical attention the condition is extremely likely to be fatal.
If you or a loved one have developed meningitis after a steroid injection, do not delay in seeking an experienced personal injury attorney. Pennsylvania’s statute of limitations requires that person injury matters be filed within 2 years of the injury. Failure to act swiftly can prejudice your claim and can foreclose recovery. For your free and confidential initial consultation, contact Reiff & Bily by calling (215) 274-0072 or contact us online.