Minnesota meningitis cases up to 7

6:00 PM, Oct 17, 2012   |    comments
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  • SAINT PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota State Department of Health says that there are seven cases of fungal meningitis in the state.

    The six-state outbreak has been blamed on contaminated injectable drugs from a Massachusetts laboratory. 19 people have died.

    "As of Wednesday, the Department is reporting two additional cases, one in a 50-year-old male who was hospitalized and one in a 40-year-old female who was also hospitalized, which brings our total to seven cases and all of these cases are related to the initial recall of products," said Kris Ehresmann, Minnesota Director of Infectious Diseases.

    Ehresmann said all of the Minnesota cases have recovered or are recovering. More than 100 Minnesota clinics have been notified to check with potentially affected patients. Ehresmann said that began after the New England Compounding Center was closed by authorities.

    "The Department received a list that was really a shipping list or billing list and we have used that to identify 129 clinics (in Minnesota)," said Ehresmann. "And so, that is the process that we are in right now is contacting those clinics."

    One of the affected medical providers is Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare in Saint Paul.

    Spokesperson Patty Dunn explained that Gillette had not received Methylprednisone, or three of the other medications and solutions in the FDA warnings.

    Gillette "has received another injectable medication - an epidural used post-surgery for pain management-from NECC."

    "We are reviewing our medical records to determine which patients have received the injectable epidural. We will then contact those patients," Dunn said.

    Fungal Meningitis, unlike the bacterial or viral versions of the disease, is not contagious.

    "We are not concerned about it from a public health standpoint, in terms of person-to-person spread, but our concern is that all the patients who have been exposed to potentially contaminated product are made aware of that," said Ehresmann.

    The Minnesota Department of Health website has more information.

    (Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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