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Meningitis Cases Top 300; FDA Recommends Checking on Patients Who Received Injections

With a total of 308 confirmed cases of fungal meningitis in 17 states, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is recommending all patients who received an injectable medicine from the New England Compounding Center (NECC) be contacted and asked about their health.  So far one Pennsylvanian has contracted the disease.

Nationwide, 23 people have died from fungal meningitis after receiving steroid injections made by NECC.

Dr. Stephen Ostroff, Acting Physician General for the Pennsylvania Department of Health, said facilities need to contact only those who received injections after May 21st.  He said they have been in contact with most of the hospitals and clinics that used NECC medications.

The Department of Health is working with two pain clinics in the state that received steroid injection from lots that are in question -- Allegheny Pain Management in Altoona and South Hills Pain and Rehab, which has locations in Jefferson Hills, Bethel Park, Monessen, and Brentwood.

“We have gone through all of the records at the two locations in Pennsylvania that received the implicated lots of the steroid injections and contacted all of the patients that are likely to have received one of these injections,” said Ostroff. “And we’ve not identified any other illnesses.”  

Ostroff said NECC specially compounded products that aren’t normally commercially available.

“With these other medications, and there are a large array of medications that are produced by this company, there has been no identified illnesses associated with these other medications,” said Ostroff. “So part of the reason to do this follow up is, number one, just to make sure that patients are okay, and if any other problems are identified that we can identify them early.”

Ostroff said the total number of exposed patients is still unknown because they aren’t sure how exactly NECC products were used in individual facilities.  He said they are monitoring those who received steroid injections and will continue to follow-up with them for about three to four months.