Meningitis possibly expands to other New England company product - WKRN News 2

Meningitis possibly expands to other New England company products

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -

The deadly fungal meningitis outbreak that has hit Tennessee the hardest has taken a whole new turn. 

The outbreak that at first seemed to be limited to one contaminated drug, may also be connected to other medications.

The New England Compounding Center linked to the meningitis outbreak for supplying an infected steroid used for back pain is under investigation by the Centers For Disease Control.

All of NECC's products were recently recalled and are being tested.

Now, health officials are concerned about a similar steroid as well as solutions used in heart surgery, eye surgery, and injections for joint pain.

Three patients who received some of the medications have been infected with either meningitis or another illness, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Those who received injections in their joints could also be at risk for joint infections.

So far, 53 patients have been infected in Tennessee and six have died.

The board of pharmacy met Monday and decided to take away NECC's license to do business in Tennessee.

"We have not focused on what those penalties will be, [be]cause quite frankly, we don't know the number of people who have received this product who might be symptomatic at a later date," explained John Smith of the Tennessee Department of Health.

A lawsuit against the New England Compounding Center was recently filed.

Janet Russell of Hendersonville says she was "disfigured and permanently disabled" after a stroke resulting from her injuries.

Her lawyer, Randy Kinnard, explained how this is the first of likely many lawsuits against the company.

"We currently have 20 clients who've had this meningitis problem occur to them and we're hearing from more people. And it's just a sad situation that this has happened to so many people," said Kinnard.

Russell and her husband are suing the NECC for $15 million.

The NECC did not immediately comment on the lawsuit.

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