National Meningitis Outbreak Worries Local Patients
New figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show 70 people have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis outbreak stretching across the nation. 14 victims have died.
Investigators suspect tainted steroid shots from the New England Compounding Center caused the rare outbreak.
Dr. Swicegood, a physician at Advanced Interventional Pain & Diagnostics of Western Arkansas, said several of his patients are worried about getting similar steroid injections after hearing about the outbreak.
“I’d like to assure anyone receiving injection therapy of any kind that these [shots] are perfectly safe,” Dr. Swicegood said. “In our area, I believe there is no reason for concern.”
The steroid in question was not shipped to Arkansas or Oklahoma, according to both state health departments. No cases of fungal meningitis have been reported in either state.
“But if you do have this disease, or if you have been exposed to fungal meningitis, it is very serious and you must be treated,” explained Dr. Swicegood.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. It develops as the fungus travels through the bloodstream and comes into direct contact with the central nervous system. It can present itself in a number of ways. Those who become infected could develop a variety of different symptoms up to several weeks after their injections. Symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea and problems similar to those seen in a stroke.
The steroid was recalled Sept. 26.
The government suspects 75 facilities in 23 states had received the steroid before the recall went into effect.
For more information about the meningitis outbreak, CLICK HERE.