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NJ Reports First Case of Fungal Meningitis Linked to Outbreak [AUDIO]

The New Jersey Department of Health has reported its first case linked to the ongoing, multi-state outbreak of fungal meningitis associated with potentially contaminated steroid medication.

Meningitis Outbreak by State (CDC)
The CDC’s Meningitis Outbreak Map by State, Last updated Oct. 8, at 2 p.m. (CDC)

A 70-year-old Cumberland County man is hospitalized and recovering after suffering with presumptive fungal meningitis.  He received an injection with medication from one of the lots recalled by New England Compounding Center (NECC) located in Framingham, Massachussetts.  He developed headaches and went to the emergency room when a fever developed.  He’s being treated with anti-fungal medication at South Jersey Healthcare Regional Medical Center in Vineland.

“Due to the fact that this is an ongoing investigation, physicians need to closely monitor patients who were administered steroid injections from the three recalled lots,” said Health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd.  “Symptoms include headaches, fever, nausea, neck stiffness, confusion and/or dizziness.  Any patient who has had a steroid injection and is experiencing symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.”

The number of people sickened by a deadly meningitis outbreak has now reached 119 cases, including 11 deaths.

Symptoms have been appearing between one and four weeks after patients got the shots.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the form of fungal meningitis that has been identified in these cases is not contagious and cannot be transferred from person to person.  The source of the fungus has not been identified, and the cause of infections in the other patients is still being assessed.  For more information on the outbreak, visit http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/outbreaks/meningitis.html.

The Department of Health has been in touch with six facilities that received the affected product and requested they reach otu to all patients who received injections of the recalled steroid medication (methylprednisolone acetate).  Almost all of the 650 affected patients have been identified.

“Affected health care facilities have been working diligently to respond to this recall,” said O’Dowd.  “I thank them for their efforts to offer assistance to ther patients as quickly and effectively as possible during this ongoing investigation and response.”

Health care facilities in New Jersey that received this medication have removed the product from inventory.

Those facilities are:

  • Central Jersey Orthopedics Specialists, PC in South Plainfield
  • Edison Surgical Center, Edison
  • IF Pain Associates/Isaiah Florence, Teaneck
  • Premier Orthopedics Surgical Assoc, LLC, Vineland
  • Comprehensive Pain Management, Sparta
  • South Jersey Healthcare, Elmer and Vineland

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