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Meningitis Illnesses, Deaths Continue to Climb

Last week it was 137. This week, after more people fell ill from the current outbreak of meningitis, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the statistic has now jumped to a total number of 205 cases across 14 states.
The pandemic came as a result of a rare fungal form of meningitis, affected patients who were injected with methylprednisolone acetate, a steroid drug commonly used to treat back pain.

Although the death toll from the unprecedented outbreak only climbed to 15 from last week’s 12, our Chicago meningitis outbreak attorneys are concerned by the fact that MSNBC reports that as many as 13,000 people may have gotten the shots, and, because symptoms of meningitis may take as long as a month to present, it is expected that both the list of infected individuals and the number of deaths related to the infection will continue to grow.

This particular outbreak has been marked by a very rare, but very deadly fungal form of the disease marked by inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord; because of the proximity of the swelling in relation to the brain and spine, meningitis is considered to be a life-threatening medical emergency.

In addition to the health scare, however, are emerging Illinois products liability cases that may arise against the U.S.-based compounding facility responsible for manufacturing the tainted drug. After officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration examined foreign materials from unopened vials under microscope and found fungal matter in the cerebrospinal fluid of several patients linked to the infected lots of the drug, several patients suffered strokes that are believed to have resulted from their infection, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite the fact that the compounding facility initiated a voluntary of the injection after learning that the drug had been compromised, the damage had already been done.

Under Illinois personal injury law – and especially in cases involving pharmaceutical companies whose products must undergo extensive testing before they are distributed to consumers – when a company makes a product that is defective or dangerous, or, as in this situation, contains a deadly contagion, and that product harms the person using that product, the company may be held legally responsible for the customer’s injuries. Here, it appears that the corporation solicited bulk orders from physicians and failed to require proof of individual patient prescriptions as required by state regulations, said the Chicago Tribune. In running its business carelessly, important steps were overlooked and mistakes were made.

Our personal injury lawyers represent victims across Illinois in matters against companies that have sold or manufactured unsafe products to consumers, and they are looking into this particular incidence of product liability.
If you or a loved one have had a steroid injection since July of this year, contact a doctor immediately.

A physician will be able to diagnose whether you have been infected with meningitis. Symptoms of the disease include such things as headache, neck stiffness, fever, confusion, vomiting, and an inability to tolerate light or loud noises. Long term prognosis for meningitis includes serious permanent consequences such as as deafness, epilepsy, hydrocephalus, deep brain stroke, and cognitive deficits, especially if not treated quickly.

Although not everyone who received the steroid injection will develop meningitis, it’s impossible to know how many will. For those affected by this outbreak, an attorney will be able to advise you of your rights under the law.

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