Reporting Derek Valcourt
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A meningitis outbreak continues to spiral. Health officials in Maryland are now confirming a fifteenth case of the disease.
Derek Valcourt reports scientists and doctors are rushing to contain the spread.
It’s already claimed the life of one infected Marylander. There are at least 15 others hoping they can beat it.
Patricia Pugh is one of the 15 Marylanders sickened by fungal meningitis. Many more in this state are still waiting to see if they will experience symptoms during the incubation period, which typically takes one to four weeks.
“Waiting is a little bit stressful because you see the one person that passed away in Maryland,” Scott Amigh, who received the steroid injection, said.
Already more than 200 cases are now confirmed nationwide, all of them from a contaminated steroid injection intended to relieve back pain.
Fungal meningitis attacks spinal fluid and the brain, and it’s already killed 14 people nationwide.
Among them are 70-year-old Lilian Carey and 89-year-old Pauline Burema.
“She was probably infected with the first injection, and from that day the course had been set,” Marsha Martin, Burema’s daughter, said.
As many as 13,000 Americans were put at risk when the Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center (NECC) shipped out thousands of contaminated steroid injections to 76 facilities in 26 states.
As health experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are tracking the cases, an investigation into what went wrong with the drugs continues.
“I think that if you’ve done something wrong, you should be answering for it,” Barbie Puro, who filed a lawsuit against the pharmacy, said.
Puro, who is from Minnesota, said she was sickened by the meningitis-tainted injections. She is first to file what she hopes will be a class-action lawsuit targeting NECC for negligence.
The CDC says they have contacted more than 90 percent of the people exposed to fungal meningitis. Over the weekend, meningitis cases were reported in four new states.