Feds: Bacteria, Fungus Found in Other NECC Products
As there is the possibility the tainted drugs could cause illness, federal health officials recommend doctors and other health care providers be alert for signs of fungal infection in patients who received these additional NECC medications.
As part of the ongoing investigation of the deadly, national outbreak of fungal meningitis the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been continuing to test products produced at Framingham-based New England Compounding Center.
Monday, the two federal health agencies released a new report, which identified products beyond the original steroids, that contained fungi and bacteria.
Federal health officials stressed there’s no evidence the new drugs have caused any additional outbreaks of fungal meningitis or any other illnesses.
Nationally, 36 people have died and more than 510 infected with fungal meningitis linked to NECC.
Monday, CDC and FDA said they have identified additional microbial contamination in unopened vials of betamethasone, cardioplegia, and triamcinolone solutions distributed and recalled from NECC.
Found was bacteria known as Bacillus, and fungal species including Aspergillus tubingensis, Aspergillus fumigatus, Cladosporium species, and Penicillium species. Although rare, some of the identified Bacillus species can be human pathogens. Some of the fungal organisms identified, particularly Aspergillus fumigatus, are known to cause disease in humans.
Federal health officials said it is not known how product contamination with these organisms could affect patients clinically.
As there is the possibility the tainted drugs could cause illness, federal health officials recommend doctors and other health care providers be alert for signs of fungal infection in patients who received these additional medications produced by the Framingham specialty pharmacy.
More than 14,000 individuals nation-wide, although not in Massachusetts, received the tainted epidural steroids, which have been linked to infections in patients in 19 states.
Besides fungal meningitis, patient have reported contracting arachnoiditis and other infections, too.
More than 70 lawsuits have been filed since the deadly outbreak began in October. Recently, a grand jury began investigation New England Compound Center, its owners and its employees for a criminal suit.