The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and Public Health Districts are working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and two Idaho medical facilities in a 23-state investigation of non-contagious fungal meningitis in patients who received epidural steroid injections, commonly used to control back pain. The injections have been recalled by the facility that produced them. It is believed the solutions injected may have had fungal contamination.
No illnesses have been reported in Idaho patients who have received the injection. Nationally, 47 people have been diagnosed with infection, with five deaths reported. All infections occurred in seven states located east of the Mississippi River.
The two Idaho facilities that received shipments of the recalled injections are the Walter Knox Memorial Hospital in Emmett and Pain Specialists of Idaho in Idaho Falls. Both facilities were notified by public health officials of the danger and are cooperating with the public health investigation and are working with their doctors to notify patients who may have received an injection with the recalled drugs.
Fungal meningitis is not transmitted from person to person. All infected patients did receive an injection with preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate prepared by New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., but investigators continue to examine all possibilities as the source for the outbreak.
Anyone who has received this type of injection from either of the Idaho facilities since July 1st should seek evaluation from their health care provider immediately if they experience symptoms. Symptoms may include a new or worsening headache, dizziness, fever, nausea, and sensitivity to light. A number of people who became ill also had symptoms of stroke, such as weakness or difficulty with speech.
Healthcare providers who evaluate symptomatic patients who have had exposure to the recalled product have been asked to contact their local public health district or the Idaho Division of Public Health to report cases.
Events are ongoing so we will provide updates as new information becomes available. For additional information, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at: http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/outbreaks/meningitis.html
Public Information Officer