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Steroid Injections Cause 11 Deaths, 119 Illnesses due to Fungal Meningitis

EMSL Analytical’s cGMP, ISO 17025 compliant lab provides rapid results for fungal contamination in pharmaceuticals.


After weeks of being unable to explain the rare, fatal form of meningitis sickening people across the country, medical authorities have determined that steroid injections contaminated with a fungus known as Aspergillus are the cause.

The New York Times reports that an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University made the realization upon discovering what her patient did in the weeks leading up to the infection. Because he was too ill to communicate, his family stated that he had received a steroid injection for his back pain—a common procedure administered to millions of Americans every year.

Public health authorities have since confirmed this explanation: the spinal injection was contaminated with Aspergillus, but noted that the clinics giving the injection to patients were not responsible.

Now a national recall of all products, including the steroid injections, which were produced and distributed from the Framingham, Massachusetts facility of New England Compounding Pharmacy, Inc. is in effect.

To date, 11 patients have died from the infection, including the man whose doctor first pinpointed the cause. 119 others have become ill after receiving steroid injections.

All patients who have fallen ill received the treatment between July 30, 2012 and September 18, 2012. Victims became ill seven days to four weeks upon receiving the injection; therefore, doctors believe more cases may arise even though the medication has been recalled.

“Doctors have reported that symptoms of this life-threatening fungal infection include headache, dizziness, fever, slurred speech, and loss of balance,” states Diane Miskowski, MPH, Business Development Manager. “When fast results are critical in cases such as these, EMSL Analytical’s FDA registered lab offers a full staff of Ph.D.-holding mycologists to provide rapid turnarounds for fungal analyzes in various medical products.”

For more information on EMSL’s testing services, please contact EMSL at (800) 220-3675, visit, or email .

About EMSL Analytical, Inc.
EMSL Analytical is a nationally recognized and locally focused provider of environmental and materials testing services and products to professionals and the general public. The company has an extensive list of accreditations from leading organizations as well as state and federal regulating bodies.



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