Medication Recall Related to Meningitis Outbreak Expanded

DHSS Confirms Medication Recall Will Not Affect Alaskans

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by Whitney LB Miller

ANCHORAGE --  Multiple medications are being recalled after a deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis, but state officials say this should not result in a shortage of medicine for patients in Alaska.

The Center for Disease Control confirmed, Tuesday, that the New England Compounding Center is expanding it's recall to include all products that were compounded at their facility in Framingham, Massachusetts.  The Center is under investigation for distributing Depo-Medrol, a steroid for back pain that is injected into the spine, that has been linked to the meningitis outbreak.

Dep-Medrol was compounded and sent out to 23 states; Alaska was not one of those states.

"Alaska is lucky we didn't receive any of the contaminated product and that's reassuring," said Dr. Michael Cooper, a state epidemiologist. "I would advise anybody that's undergone epidural injections anytime after May to at least stay aware of the situation."

Currently, there are 119 reported cases of fungal meningitis across 10 states, and 11 people have reportedly died.

Fungal meningitis is very uncommon and is not contagious, however, it is very difficult to detect and diagnose. Symptoms include a high fever, stiff neck, and stroke, and it can take 1 to 4 weeks for onset of symptoms.  If caught early, treatments are available.

For the latest information about the outbreak, visit the Center for Disease Control's website.

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