A fungal meningitis outbreak arising from contaminated medication has seen a spike in its death toll over the weekend from two lives claimed to 23. The steroids, often prescribed for pain relief via injection, were shipped across the country from the New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Massachusetts, and contain the fatal Exserohilum fungus. There have been deaths and new cases of fungal meningitis reported from various regions. Tennessee has the highest death toll in the nation with eight fatalities, as cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s official count on its website. North Caroline had its first death on October 20th, and thirteen other states have reported infections. Health officials estimate that up to 14,000 people may have been exposed to the tainted steroids, implying that sadly, the death toll may be seen to rise even further.
The NECC will undergo both a federal and state investigation into the cause of this contamination. Civil lawsuits have been raised against both the company, and its executives, and Florida has already banned the NECC from conducting business within its state boundaries.