The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department has reported that there have not been any meningitis cases due to infected epidural steroid injections in our region.
The outbreak is due to a product that has not been used in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, according to the WUPHD.
Information from the CDC
Please follow the following link to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention for more information and details about the Multi-State Meningitis Outbreak:
TV6 coverage of the issue in relation to the Upper Peninsula
See uppermichigansource.com for the full story:
A press release from the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department
HANCOCK – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that there are now 105 cases of fungal meningitis and eight deaths associated with the medical use of an injectable steroid produced by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, Massachusetts. Investigation is ongoing and case numbers are changing daily.
None of the medication in question was distributed in the Upper Peninsula.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the membrane covering the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by infection with many different organisms. In this case, the infections are being caused by fungus, which is an unusual cause of meningitis. Because these infections are unusual, they were reported by healthcare providers to the CDC, which began an investigation in conjunction with state and local public health.
Steroid medications are used to treat a variety of medical problems. In this case, all patients received the medication as an epidural injection, meaning it was injected into a fluid space that surrounds the spinal cord. Epidural steroids are used to treat issues such as lower-back pain and are a typically very safe.
Unfortunately, it appears that certain lots of a steroid medication produced by NECC used for epidural injections, may have been contaminated with fungus during the production process, leading to infection in some patients. The problem isn’t something U.P. residents need to worry about though, according to Dr. Terry Frankovich, medical director of the Western U.P. Health Department.
“Fortunately, with computerized systems, it is very easy to track medication from factory to medical facilities and then to patients,” Frankovich said. “Although this is a commonly used medication, it produced by more than one company and only three lots of the medication from one particular company are implicated. None of these doses were distributed in the Upper Peninsula.”
The company has recalled the medication so no additional patients should be exposed.
In cases identified to date, symptoms of meningitis have typically began 1-4 weeks after an epidural injection and may include fever, worsening headache, stiff neck, weakness or numbness. Unlike meningitis caused by many bacteria, this fungal meningitis tends to have a more gradual onset and symptoms may be mild, at least early on. These infections are not spread person to person, so only people who received these injections can become ill.
“This is a good example of the importance of the public health system in this country,” says Frankovich, “ it is only because these unusual cases are reported and investigated that patterns emerge and steps can be quickly taken to limit risk to the other patients.”