LANSING (WWJ/AP) – Michigan health officials are reporting at least eight cases of fungal meningitis, including two deaths, linked to injections of a recalled back-pain medication.
At least six cases are being treated at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor.
In all, there are 47 cases in seven states with seven deaths. Tennessee has been the hardest hit, with 25 cases and three deaths. Other cases are in Virginia, Maryland, Florida, North Carolina and Indiana.
The Michigan Department of Community Health expects the number of cases to rise.
A potentially contaminated product is suspected to be the cause of the outbreak. Interim data show that infected patients received injection with preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate prepared by the New England Compounding Center (NECC), located in Framingham, Mass. On Sept. 25, the NECC recalled three lots of product associated with known cases of fungal meningitis.
Four Michigan facilities received shipments of these recalled lots and are working with MDCH to identify and notify patients who may have received this product and be at risk for developing illness. The facilities are:
- Michigan Neurosurgical Institutes in Grand Blanc
- Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton
- Neuromuscular and Rehabilitation in Traverse City
- Southeast Michigan Surgical Hospital in Warren
People who got the shots between July and September could be at risk.
Fungal meningitis is not transmitted person-to-person. Infected patients have presented approximately one to four weeks following their injection with a variety of symptoms including fever, new or worsening headache, nausea, and other symptoms consistent with a stroke. Some of these patients’ symptoms were very mild in nature.
Any individual who received an epidural steroid injection or steroid injection into a joint at one of the four Michigan facilities and is experiencing symptoms consistent with fungal meningitis or a stroke should immediately contact their physician or seek medical attention.
Additional information about this investigation can be found at www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases.
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