Victim of meningitis outbreak confirmed in Elkhart; 2 more Indiana cases reported

HealthDiseases and IllnessesChemical IndustryPharmaceutical IndustryU.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A case of fungal meningitis has been confirmed in Elkhart, Ind. following a statewide recall of contaminated medication used to treat chronic back pain.

Jamie Wrigley, director of marketing at OSMC Surgery Center in Elkhart, said test results received Friday confirmed a patient contracted the rare illness.

Health officials announced Thursday that patients in 23 states could have been exposed to the tainted medications.  According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 35 people in six states meet the criteria for having a fungal infection.  A total of five deaths have been reported so far.

Indiana State Department of Health spokesman Ken Severson said Friday a total of three cases have been confirmed in Indiana. It is unclear where in Indiana the two other cases are.

The sickened patients were injected with a steroid made by the Massachusetts-based company New England Compounding Center.

The medication, called methylprednisolone acetate, was sent to six Indiana health facilities located in Evansville, Ft. Wayne, Elkhart, South Bend, Terre Haute and Columbus.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW LIST OF INDIANA FACILITIES KNOWN TO HAVE RECEIVED THE CONTAMINATED MEDICATION.

Elkhart's OSMC Surgery Center is working to contact all patients who were injected with the medication.  The patient confirmed to have fungal meningitis has already began treatment, said Wrigley.

Health officials urge patients to receive treatment if they received the shot since July 1 and are experiencing symptoms such as a new or worsening headache, fever, neck stiffness or pain at the injection site.

Fungal meningitis is not contagious, but it can be fatal.

According to CNN, 25 patients in Tennessee were reported to be sickened, and three have died. Virginia is reporting four cases including one death; Florida has two cases; Maryland has two cases, including 1 death; and North Carolina and Indiana have one case each.

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