This isn’t deja vu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent out a press release today about a “multistate outbreak of infections following steroid injections.” This time it’s not related to New England Compounding Center, the Framingham pharmacy that produced tainted drugs officials say sickened more than 700 people, and killed 55.
Federal and state regulators announced last week that seven people had developed infections after receiving a steroid made at a Tennessee compounding pharmacy. The total is now up to 20 cases in three states, and the CDC has labelled it an outbreak.
The agency said on its website that most reports were of “skin and soft tissue infections of unclear etiology.” There have been no reports of meningitis or life-threatening infections.
The new outbreak is far less severe than the one involving New England Compounding, but there are commonalities. Both were caused by injectable methylprednisolone acetate, used to treat pain and inflammation, and both involved compounding pharmacies that are supposed to make sterile, individualized drugs for patients who need special doses or formulations.
New England Compounding was operating beyond that scope by producing large batches, more like a drug manufacturer, and in unclean facilities, regulators found. Tennessee was among the states hardest hit by that outbreak, with 15 deaths.
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