So there’s an outbreak of meningitis?
Yeah. One hundred and seventy cases reported so far. And 14 people have died.
Whoa. Since when?
The first case was reported on September 18 in Tennessee.
And it’s still spreading?
No. It was never spreading. It came from a pretty sizable batch of contaminated steroid medication. Over 17,000 doses shipped to 76 medical clinics in 24 states.
What do you mean by ‘contaminated steroid medication’?
There’s a drug called methylprednisolone acetate—a steroid—that doctors sometimes inject into their patients’ necks and backs to ease pain. Millions of Americans get these injections, and it’s usually fine, because drug treatments are usually formulated in perfectly sterile Clean Rooms. This batch was apparently made in a not-so-Clean Room.
Jesus. So 17,000 people could get meningitis?
Not all of the doses got used. There were about 4,000 left when the CDC got wise to the contamination. So about 13,000 people could have been exposed, but it’s possible that some of the doses weren’t contaminated, and not everyone who was exposed will get sick.
Yeah. It’s pretty serious.
But it’s not contagious?
It is not.