Health Officials: 1st Fungal Meningitis Case Reported In NJ
TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – New Jersey is reporting its first apparent case of fungal meningitis.
State health officials say a 70-year-old Cumberland County man is hospitalized with what is believed to be the illness. He received an injection of a steroid from one of the lots recalled by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts and tied to a meningitis outbreak.
Health officials said the man developed headaches and went to the emergency room with a fever. He is being treated with anti-fungal medication at South Jersey Healthcare Regional Medical Center in Vineland.
“Just like any other illness, the current immune status of that individual has an impact on whether or not their body can fight off this type of an infection,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary E. O’Dowd told WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell.
WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reports
“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 O’Dowd in a statement. “Any patient who has had a steroid injection and is experiencing symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.”
Officials have identified six health care facilities in New Jersey that dispensed the medication linked to the outbreak:
- Central Jersey Orthopedics Specialists in South Plainfield
- Edison Surgical Center in Edison
- IF Pain Associates/Isaiah Florence in Teaneck
- Premier Orthopedics Surgical Associates in Vineland
- South Jersey Healthcare in Elmer and Vineland
- Richard Siegfried, MD, of Sparta
“We identified through our research that approximately 930 of those vials had been used, affecting a potential 650 patients,” O’Dowd told Haskell. “We are more concerned with the potential exposure into their spine because that is a more concerning area.”
“Affected health care facilities have been working diligently to respond to this recall,” O’Dowd said. “I thank them for their efforts to offer assistance to their patients as quickly and effectively as possible during this ongoing investigation and response.”
In New York, state health officials said 425 people have received steroid shots suspected in the meningitis outbreak.
Department of Health spokesman Jeffrey Hammond said the 425 New Yorkers are out of the estimated 13,000 nationwide who received the dosages for pain. There are no reported meningitis cases in New York.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s nationwide count of meningitis cases reached 105 on Monday, including eight deaths. A ninth death was reported late Monday by a Nashville, Tenn., hospital related to shipments of the steroid from the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts.
The CDC last week said the New York tainted shipments went to Dr. Sunil Butani in Mineola, Obosa Medical Services in Mount Vernon and Rochester Brain and Spine in Rochester.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms like headache, nausea, dizziness and fever appear one to four weeks after getting the injection.
The type of fungal meningitis involved is not contagious like the more common forms. It is caused by a fungus often found in leaf mold and is treated with high-dose antifungal medications, usually given intravenously in a hospital.
Health officials have cautioned more cases are possible because of the long incubation period of the fungal meningitis.
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