Steroids linked meningitis Harris Methodist Southlake - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Steroids linked to fatal meningitis used in Southlake

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Aspergillus fumigatus, a fungus Aspergillus fumigatus, a fungus
FORT WORTH, Texas -

A Southlake hospital injected more than 100 patients with a steroid linked to a nationwide outbreak of meningitis that has killed at least five people, state and county health departments said.

Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Southlake received two shipments of the tainted methylprednisolone acetate, according to the Tarrant County Health Department.

Hospital records show 114 people were treated with the steroid, and all have been contacted by telephone and certified letter. So far, no Texas patients have contracted meningitis, the county department said.

SEE STATEMENT FROM TARRANT CO. HEALTH & TEXAS HEALTH HARRIS METHODIST

A clinic in Dallas County also received a shipment and injected only about 10 to 15 patients.

The Centers for Disease Control linked the outbreak to a fungal contamination in three lots of injectable steroids from the New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Massachusetts.

The tainted lots were produced in July, but the CDC is warning all clinics and hospitals to stop using any drugs from the company.

So far, at least 50 people in seven states have become ill with meningitis after the drugs were injected into their spines, usually to treat back pain. Several of the victims suffered strokes.

Five people have died, according to the CDC. Investigators also warn that new cases could surface soon, because the contaminated product was shipped to 23 states.

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

Meningitis is often caused by viruses or bacteria, but this particular strain is caused by a fungus. The CDC says this fungal strain is not contagious.

MORE INFORMATION:
http://www.cdc.gov/hai/outbreaks/meningitis.html

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