An outbreak of fungal meningitis in 23 states, including, Minnesota, is being investigated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and reported widely in the media, beginning the first week in October.
Steroid products produced by a New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts have been linked to 47 cases of fungal meningitis – and five deaths – in seven states, according to the CDC. Riverwood Healthcare Center reports that none of its steroid products used for patient care are from this Massachusetts company.
“We want to reassure patients who may have had an epidural steroid injection at Riverwood recently that there is no cause for concern,” explains Dr. Mark Heggem, Riverwood Chief Medical Officer. “The steroid products used to treat patients here are not from the same manufacturer.”
Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) officials say they’ve confirmed three cases of a rare fungal meningitis linked to a steroid commonly used to treat back pain. According to the MDH, the only Minnesota health care providers known to have used the implicated drugs are Medical Advanced Pain Specialists (MAPS) in Edina, Fridley, Shakopee and Maple Grove, and the Minnesota Surgery Center (MSC) in Edina and Maple Grove.
As of Oct. 8, approximately 950 Minnesota patients are now believed to have been treated with the implicated steroid products. The New England Compounding Center has been closed. All of its products have been recalled, or are currently being withheld from use.
Fungal meningitis is not contagious. MDH officials are emphasizing that the fungal infections associated with the steroid products are different from the viral and bacterial forms of meningitis. The fungal infections cannot be transmitted from person to person, so people who have not been treated with the implicated steroid products are not at risk.
For more information about the fungal meningitis outbreak, go to the websites for Minnesota Department of Health at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/meningitis/fungal/index.html
or Centers for Disease Control at http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/outbreaks/meningitis.html