National News

Steroid-related meningitis cases rise to 105 nationwide; eight dead

Posted October 8, 2012
Updated October 9, 2012

— Health officials say the number of people sickened by a deadly meningitis outbreak has now reached 105 cases. The number of deaths rose by one Monday to eight, with another fatality in Tennessee.

No deaths have been reported in North Carolina, but the state is investigating possible meningitis cases. State health officials said Monday they have contacted 209 patients who received pain-relieving steroid shots at the North Carolina Orthopaedic Clinic in Durham.

No one from that clinic has come down with meningitis symptoms or gotten sick, according to state health officials. That could be because the patients got their shots in their joint spaces, like the knee or hip, and not in the spine.

Besides North Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, Virginia, Indiana, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota and Ohio have reported meningitis cases.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include severe headache, nausea, dizziness and fever.

The type of fungal meningitis involved is not contagious like the more common forms. It is caused by a fungus that's widespread but very rarely causes illness. It is treated with high-dose antifungal medications, usually given intravenously in a hospital.

National health officials have tied the fungal meningitis outbreak to steroid shots for back pain. The steroid was made by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts, the New England Compounding Center of Framingham.

The pharmacy has recalled three lots consisting of a total of 17,676 single-dose vials of the steroid, preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate, Massachusetts health officials said.The company has shut down operations and said it is working with regulators to identify the source of the infection.

23 Comments

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  • Coolbreeze Oct 9, 4:11 p.m.

    Scary!

  • ncwolf08 Oct 9, 12:22 p.m.

    whatelseisnew -

    You sound like a very sad, lonely and sarcastic person. I sought my daughter who is a doctor for a list of the symptoms, thank you. You don't even know me and yet you criticize.

    All I was saying is that you cannot believe everything that is in print. And, if it were you who had received the injections, you would expect Duke to be telling you more than you had been lucky enough to receive some of the contaminated vaccine.

  • Crabbit Cratur Oct 9, 12:15 p.m.

    "They are just trying to give Steroids a bad rap,since all other efforts have failed.Just like Smoking they want to ban it so they put a cause of a disease to it like Smoking causes cancer in 6 year old children and second hand smoke is harmful,ha ha ha .... Guess they must have a new medication for this that they wanted to see if it works so they get people sick and unfortunately some have died."

    I believe they have medications for Paranoia too....

  • whatelseisnew Oct 9, 11:40 a.m.

    "If state health officials are saying that they personally contacted the 209 patients from N.C. Orthopaedic in Durham, that is a lie. The Clinic itself notified me on Friday, but the State officials have said nothing to me. I asked for the symptoms and didn't even get that out of them."

    I would not expect them to contact you. The clinic should not be giving out patient information. The clinic should contact you and perhaps YOU could be proactive and find out what the symptoms are yourself. Or you could sit back and wait on some Government person to contact you.

  • murdock Oct 9, 11:39 a.m.

    flu shots are not pre-mixed by a compounding company

  • murdock Oct 9, 10:25 a.m.

    thanks for changing the pic

  • ncwolf08 Oct 9, 10:09 a.m.

    If state health officials are saying that they personally contacted the 209 patients from N.C. Orthopaedic in Durham, that is a lie. The Clinic itself notified me on Friday, but the State officials have said nothing to me. I asked for the symptoms and didn't even get that out of them.

  • murdock Oct 9, 9:14 a.m.

    Okay, WRAL - take off the pic of the Meningococcal vaccine vial - very misleading - this is not the same type of meningitis that vaccine covers.

  • jcthai Oct 9, 8:49 a.m.

    djofraleigh, wow, I suppose you could say the same thing about aspirin or the food you eat. Yeah, skip your flu shot. I hope you have a miserable 2 weeks and don't infect anyone else.

  • jcthai Oct 9, 8:47 a.m.

    Yes, a ninth death was reported LAST NIGHT.

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