Posted at: 10/05/2012 5:28 PM
By: James Wilcox
Meningitis Concerns in Minnesota
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- The CEO of Minnesota pain clinics that used a steroid now linked to a fungal meningitis outbreak says four patients have shown symptoms. The patients have been directed to be tested for the disease. The steroids were handed out to around 450 people in Minnesota, all in the Twin Cities area.
The steroid has been linked to 47 cases of a rare fungal meningitis in seven states, including five deaths. Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, North Carolina and Indiana had previously reported cases. On Friday, Michigan joined the list, with four cases.
The outbreak has been tied to steroid shots used to treat back pain. The steroid was custom-made by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. Health inspectors found fungus in at least one sealed vial of the steroid at the company's facility.The company has recalled the steroid which was sent to clinics in 23 states. The government urged doctors not to use any of the company's products.
Early symptoms of the meningitis can be headaches, fever, a stiff neck and it can take anywhere from a week to a month to develop. It usually causes immune problems, but in this case it was injected directly into the spine. It goes up to the brain and causes inflammation. In some people, it actually caused a stroke.
The Minnesota clinics got the product on July 3 and stopped using it on Sept. 26. It was injected to relieve back or neck pain. If you have concerns you're urged to contact your doctor.