Second case linked to fungal meningitis outbreak confirmed
From Angela Smith,
MPH — Health Commissioner
Federal, State and local health officials have identified and are investigating a second Morrow County case linked to the nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak. To date, all infected patients have received injections using recalled medication from a Massachusetts pharmacy.
Both Morrow County residents developed health problems after receiving an epidural steroid injection as a pain management treatment, using medication that was later recalled.
The Morrow County Health Department continues to follow up with patients who may have been exposed to contaminated medications produced by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, Mass., as part of a nationwide investigation into a fungal meningitis outbreak.
“We continue to encourage anybody who has received an injection with NECC recalled product and who is experiencing fever, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, new numbness or weakness, or slurred speech, to see a immediately,” said Angela Smith, Health Commissioner.
The outbreak is responsible for 36 deaths and more than 500 cases of fungal meningitis and stroke across 19 states. There have been no deaths related to this outbreak in Ohio. This type of fungal meningitis is not contagious.
According to the CDC, infected patients may have only one or two symptoms or may have very mild symptoms that patients dismiss. Many infected patients have only experienced slight weakness, slightly worsened back pain, or even just a mild headache. Patients with infections have typically developed symptoms within 1–6 weeks after their injection. The greatest risk of developing an infection is in the first 26 days after injection, however, longer timeframes between injection and onset of symptoms have been reported. The timeframe is still being investigated, so patients who were exposed should stay vigilant about monitoring themselves for symptoms and see a doctor if they develop symptoms of meningitis or infection, regardless of long it has been since they received the injection.
The outbreak is not a danger to the general public because this type of meningitis does not spread from person to person, clarified Smith. Because the FDA and CDC investigations have linked specific and
traceable medication to the disease, the people who are at risk of infection could be identified and notified to ensure they would recognize illness and seek treatment early when it can be most successful.
NECC compounds and distributes a large number of injectable products. More than 64 locations in Ohio received injectable products from the company after May 21. These healthcare facilities have notified Morrow County residents who received these products, with assistance from The Ohio Department of Health, the Marion County Health Department, and the Morrow County Health Department.
For more information on fungal meningitis, please contact a Public Health Nurse at the Morrow County Health Department at (419)947‑1545 or visit us on the web at .MorrowCountyHealth.org. We are “Your Partner in Prevention and Preparedness.”