Two-thirds of the patients hospitalized in connection with New Jersey’s fungal meningitis cases are now discharged from the Vineland facility where they underwent treatment, according to state health officials.
Information posted on the state Department of Health and Senior Services website also continues to show that only two of New Jersey’s 33 cases had a confirmed diagnosis for fungal meningitis.
Fungal meningitis cases are linked to spinal injections of a tainted steroid vaccine. The vaccine, manufactured by the Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center, is used for long-term pain relief.
The last two probable cases of fungal meningitis were reported by state health officials on Monday. One of those patients is a 53-year-old Cumberland County woman. The other is a 63-year-old out-of-state woman who received her injection at a facility in New Jersey identified by state health officials as Comprehensive Pain Management. No information was available about that facility.
State health officials do not provide the names of the people who were or are being treated after developing symptoms following the injections of the tainted vaccine.
The most recent statistics from the state health department show that of the 33 patients, 25 are from Cumberland County, four are from Salem County, two are from Gloucester County, one is from Atlantic County, and the other is the out-of-state resident.
With the exception of the out-of-state resident, patients received their spinal injections at either South Jersey Healthcare Regional Medical Center in Vineland or Premier Orthopedic Surgical Associates in Vineland. Officials with both facilities said they had no reason to believe the steroid vaccine was tainted when they administered the spinal injections.
All but one of the 33 patients have been treated at South Jersey Healthcare Regional Medical Center. The out-of-state patient is being treated at a hospital in the Sussex County community of Newton.
Meanwhile, at least 15 residents of Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties who received injections of the tainted vaccine are now suing the New England Compounding Center and the facilities where they received the injections.
Attorney Michael Barrett said in a statement that some of his clients are being or have been treated with anti-fungal therapies and are all under close medical monitoring.
“Every one of these victims put their full faith and trust in their health-care providers and the (New England Compounding Center) to protect their health and welfare,” Bennett said in the statement. “Prior to receiving the contaminated steroid injections, the only thing they shared in common was chronic pain. What they all now share … is guarded relief that they are alive and receiving treatment.”
None of New Jersey’s cases has involved a fatality. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting 34 deaths in 19 states related to the tainted vaccine.
Barrett said additional complaints are being drafted.
Contact Thomas Barlas: