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TDH Continuing Efforts with Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Patients

Wednesday, November 21, 2012 | 06:25am

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Health is continuing to provide information and assistance to patients affected by contaminated methylprednisolone acetate, including new outreach efforts to some who may develop localized infections.

“We have learned through our investigations and from information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that more patients than initially thought may develop localized infections,” said Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “While these infections are not as serious as meningitis, they need to be identified and treated to prevent them from becoming a more significant health problem. We will be renewing our contacts with patients and are already working closely with clinical staff at the three facilities in Tennessee where contaminated drugs were given as they do the same.”

Dreyzehner said TDH has seen localized infection at or near the original site of the steroid injection in 49 patients to date, most of whom have also had meningitis. TDH and clinical staff from the three Tennessee facilities will be providing information on what to look for, and working with clinicians in treating those who develop symptoms of new infections. Besides pain at or near the original site of the injection, patients may experience loss of bowel or bladder control.

“For some patients, an additional MRI may be required to assist with the diagnosis,” Dreyzehner said. “Patients who develop symptoms of new localized infections should contact the physician who provided the epidural steroid injection.”

Phone numbers for the three clinics are:

St. Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center, Nashville         615-341-3577
Surgical Specialty Center, Crossville                                                   931-484-2500
PCA Pain Center, Oak Ridge                                                                    865-835-5196

Patients may also contact the Poison Control Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 for information.

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