Cases of fungal meningitis rise in Elkhart County
Posted: 11/01/2012 at 12:31 pm
By: Angelle Barbazon
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This photo provided Oct. 9, 2012, by the Minnesota Department of Health shows shows vials of the injectable steroid product made by New England Compounding Center implicated in a fungal meningitis outbreak that were being shipped to the CDC from Minneapolis. On Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the fungus was in one lot of vials made in August 2012 by the New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass. The specialty pharmacy has been at the center of a national investigation into more than 386 fungal meningitis cases, including at least 28 deaths. (AP Photo/Minnesota Department of Health)
The number of victims confirmed in the county now stands at 32 people, according to county health officer Dr. Dan Nafziger. There have been three deaths in Indiana after patients received tainted steroid injections for back pain at OSMC Outpatient Surgery Center in Elkhart. The center is one of six clinics in the state that received batches of the contaminated medications from the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass.
There have been 386 cases of the infection reported in 19 states, including 48 cases in Indiana. The number of fatalities across the country is 28, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
OSMC contacted close to 400 patients in early October after medications were recalled. Common symptoms of fungal meningitis include headaches, fever, sensitivity to light, neck stiffness and increased pain, redness or swelling at the injection site. Symptoms typically appear one to four weeks following an injection.
Seven OSMC patients have filed lawsuits in Elkhart County against the New England Compounding Center and its sister companies.
The Indiana State Department of Health is also working with hospitals, clinics and health care providers to remove medications manufactured by Ameridose LLC. The company, located in Westborough, Mass., is affiliated with the New England Compounding Center. Ameridose decided to voluntarily recall all of its unexpired products Thursday after an inspection could not initially guarantee sterility of the drugs. The recall is not based on reports of patients with infections attributed to Ameridoseís products.
To read a list of all recalled products visit www.fda.gov and www.ameridose.com.