Friday, October 19, 2012

Idaho clinics contacted about meningitis risk

St. Luke’s did not receive tainted drugs


By EXPRESS STAFF

 The Idaho Division of Public Health is contacting nine Idaho medical facilities that may have received injectable drugs that could pose a risk for infection or meningitis. The clinics are being urged to contact their patients who may have received injections to make sure they do not have symptoms of infection and to report any symptoms. 

In late September, an epidural steroid commonly used for back pain was tied to a fungal meningitis outbreak being investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twenty-three states received shipments of the product, including two facilities in Idaho, one in Emmett and one in Idaho Falls. With these two facilities, a total of 11 Idaho medical providers may have received and used the company’s injectable products since May. 

Since then, the Food and Drug Administration has expanded its investigation of possibly contaminated pharmaceuticals produced by New England Compounding Center beyond the epidural steroids already recalled. The list includes injectable drugs distributed since May for joint pain or used during heart and eye surgeries. According to a news release from the Division of Public Health, no illnesses associated with the expanded list of drugs have been confirmed.

Idaho Public Health stated that it will identify the nine Idaho facilities after it verifies that each facility received and used the New England Compounding Center products. In a news release, St. Luke’s Health System stated that it has not received any of the potentially tainted spinal steroid injections.

The St. Luke’s news release stated that while the New England Compounding Center is not a permanent St. Luke’s vendor, between July and October, St. Luke’s hospitals in some regions of Idaho bought products from the company. However, St. Luke’s Wood River did not buy any products from that vendor, and since learning of these quality issues, St. Luke’s Health System has terminated its relationship with the company.

St. Luke’s stated that it will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates to patients affected by the recall. 

According to the Idaho Division of Public Health, one eastern Idaho resident is being treated for fungal meningitis tied to the outbreak. He is hospitalized and responding well to treatment. Nationally, 233 illnesses are being investigated, including 15 deaths. 




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