Five people in six states have died and another 35 sickened after a possible fungal contamination of methlprednisolone acetate, a common epidural steroid injection that's typically used to relieve back pain.
Although there have been no reported cases in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Public Health is encouraging anyone who has received the shot since July and who is concerned with their health, to call their doctor.
"If you have any concerns about your health after receiving an epidural steroid injection since July, and do not know which product was used, call the physician who performed your procedure," IDPH Director Dr. LaMar Hasbrouck said. "The Illinois Department of Public Health has alerted physicians and health practitioners around the state about the meningitis cases associated with epidural steroid injections and the need to stop using the recalled product. This medication is typically used to relieve chronic pain for conditions such as herniated disks and spine inflammation."
Those who were sickened usually began noticing symptoms between one and four weeks after receiving the injection. Symptoms of the fungal meningitis in question include fever, new symptoms of headache or worsening headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, or symptoms suggestive of a stroke. Anyone that received the recalled injection and is experiencing those symptoms should contact their doctor immediately. Treatment is available. This type of meningitis is not transferable from human to human.
The drug was produced by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts. They have since recalled all of the medication. Health care providers could have received the product from the company directly, or through a third party. The only health care provider that received the product directly from the manufacturer was APAC Centers for Pain Management, which has six locations in Chicago and Cook County.
More information can be found here.
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