The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

World, nation, state

October 7, 2012

Ohio gets first case of meningitis in outbreak

TOLEDO — The rare fungal meningitis outbreak that has killed seven people and sickened more than 60 across several states has now been found in Ohio.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Saturday it has confirmed one case in Ohio although it did not say where. The Ohio Health Department said a 65-year-old man had been sickened, but it would not release his name or hometown to protect his identity.

The man’s illness was likely caused by a tainted steroid injection from a specialty pharmacy New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts that has been linked to the outbreak in other states, the health department said.

Federal health officials fear thousands could have been exposed. The latest cases were confirmed in Minnesota and Ohio.

The CDC has said inspectors found at least one sealed vial contaminated at the Massachusetts company. It’s not yet clear how the fungus got into the steroid, which is commonly used to treat back pain.

The steroid has been recalled and officials have told health professionals not to use anything made by the pharmacy.

Four health care clinics in Ohio used the recalled steroid injection. They are Ortho-Spine Rehab Center in the Columbus suburb of Dublin, Cincinnati Pain Management, Marion Pain Clinic, and BKC Pain Specialists, also in Marion.

The health department has said the facilities were working to contact patients who received the steroid injection, which is often used to treat back pain.  

An official with Ortho-Spine Rehab Center said Friday that the clinic had used the drug for at least seven years because it was cheaper than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s version and was effective.

 

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