The CEO of a northern Indiana health clinic says two of its patients have tested positive for fungal meningitis after receiving a recalled back pain medication that's been linked to a deadly nationwide outbreak.
OSMC Surgery Center CEO Don Hammond said Friday that two of the Elkhart clinic's patients have been hospitalized with the rare illness.
According to State Epidemiologist Pam Pontones, there have been three confirmed cases of fungal meningitis in the state.
Six Indiana health facilities received batches of the medication that was recently recalled by a Massachusetts manufacturer. One of them is the South Bend Clinic. The other clinics are in Evansville, Fort Wayne, Terre Haute and Columbus.
The clinics are contacting more than 1,000 patients who received injections of Methylprednisolone Acetate for back or joint pain after July 1.
The CDC says symptoms of fungal meningitis infection "are similar to symptoms of other forms of meningitis, however they often appear more gradually and can be very mild at first. In addition to typical meningitis symptoms, like headache, fever, nausea, and stiffness of the neck, people with fungal meningitis may also experience confusion, dizziness, and discomfort from bright lights. Patients might just have one or two of these symptoms."
Patients have mostly been reporting symptoms appearing between one and four weeks after receiving the treatment.
If you have questions, concerns, or are showing symptoms you are asked to contact your health care provider.
Michiana resident Darla Cavinder routinely receives injections in her back before for chronic pain so when she first heard about the meningitis outbreak she was in shock. "I was very scared. I thought oh my gosh is this the medication I got three weeks ago?"
She immediately checked her medical records...and found out that luckily she had not received the drug of concern. But she's still not 100 percent at ease. "even though I found out it's not the same medication I'm still a little concerned and jittery because I get these procedures."
But she says she will sleep easier this weekend knowing she's not at risk for meningitis. But you may need to be concerned if you recently received injections for back pain at OSMC in Elkhart or the South Bend Clinic. The Indiana State Department of Health says those are the only two facilities in Michiana that received that tainted drug. Pontones said, "this particular outbreak is very serious and it's very important for those who have received this particular product to be identified and follow up with their healthcare providers."
This form of meningitis is not contagious so you only need to worry if you received one of the bad injections. And if you are a patient that received one the medical facility where it was administered should be contacting you. If you have any concerns though contact your doctor.
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