Alarmist Headline Inaccurate

The current outbreak of fungal meningitis in the United States is tragic, and my heart goes out to the people who are dealing with this.

The Birmingham News carried a headline on Wednesday stating that 44 health facilities in Alabama had received medications that were tainted with the fungus. Oh no, I thought. Our state is now among the growing number connected to this tragedy.  Here is the headline:

Anyone who read only the headline kept the same impression I started with–that Alabama had received tainted medications. However, when I read the entire article, I found this information in the second paragraph:

Williamson (State Health Officer Dr. Donald Williamson) said none of the medicines sent to Alabama is known to be infection-causing.

That means that Alabama received medications from the New England Compounding Center but not the ones known to cause fungal meningitis.

A headline should accurately reflect the information contained in the story, especially in a situation like this one.


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