Grim conditions reported at firm linked with fungal meningitis outbreak
Unsanitary conditions and contaminated drugs at a firm that shipped medicines linked with a nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis are documented in a U.S. Food and Drug Administration report.
On Saturday, 344 cases of fungal infection, including one in South Carolina, and 25 deaths were reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most of the cases are fungal meningitis, an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Seven are infections in a joint such as a knee, hip or shoulder.
The steroid methylprednisolone acetate from New England Compounding Center has been linked to the infections, including a probable case of fungal meningitis in a patient who received a spinal injection of the drug at Intervene MD of North Charleston and Mount Pleasant.
In all of the fungal infections, the drug was injected either into the spine or a joint. Fungal meningitis is not contagious.
The eight-page inspection report posted Friday at the FDA website says 83 unopened vials of methylprednisolone acetate had a greenish-black foreign matter, and 17 unopened vials of the drug had a white filamentous contaminant. Inspectors saw the contamination in a batch of the steroid that was later confirmed in lab tests to be tainted with a fungus. The suspect drug was shipped to customers between Aug. 17 and Sept. 25, the report states.
Read more later at postandcourier.com and in upcoming editions of The Post and Courier.