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St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Belleville Memorial meningitis warning

9:46 PM, Oct 23, 2012   |    comments
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Belleville, Ill (KSDK) -- St. Elizabeth's Hospital and Belleville Memorial Hospital in Belleville are contacting patients who received a drug that the FDA and CDC linked to a national fungal meningitis outbreak.

St. Elizabeth's said it has determined 26 patients received a dose of a cardioplegia solution produced by the New England Compounding Company (NECC).

There is no evidence the solution administered at the hospital since May was contaminated.  The hospital said it believes in an "abundance of safety" and is thus warning patients.

Hospital officials are contacting patients who received the solution and educating them about the symptoms of fungal meningitis, which include fever, worsening headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light, new numbness or weakness or slurred speech.

Belleville Memorial says they do not use the steroid in question, but they do use two other products made by NECC. The FDA has pulled these products, and the hospital is sending letters to patients.

There are no reported cases of fungal meningitis in the Metro East area. 

The CDC said fungal meningitis is not contagious.

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Barnes Jewish posted the following information on its blog:

"The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently investigating an outbreak of fungal meningitis possibly resulting from an epidural steroid injection produced and distributed by New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts.

"Yesterday, the FDA widened its investigation into the potential cause of the outbreak to two other drugs made by the pharmacy, and has issued a recall of all products made by the pharmacy.

"Neither Barnes-Jewish Hospital nor Washington University School of Medicine has purchased any products from this manufacturer. BJH and WUSM patients were not exposed to any products currently being investigated.

"Patients of other facilities should contact their physician to find out if they received a medicine from the list of contaminated lots. The FDA has a complete list of all products subject to the recall."

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Statement from Saint Louis University Hospital spokesperson Jason Merrill:

"In light of recent announcements by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), we want to communicate to our patients that Saint Louis University Hospital does not use products from the New England Compounding Center, the facility linked to the recent fungal meningitis outbreak. Our patients have not been exposed to the tainted product and we are following all of the recommendations set forth by the CDC. We encourage concerned patients who have questions about the outbreak or want to view a list of facilities who received the recalled product to visit www.cdc.gov."

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SSM Health Care- St. Louis web posting:

"While there have been reports of people impacted outside of Missouri, we wanted to assure the community that it DOES NOT appear that any of the contaminated lots were shipped to Missouri. NECC does not have a license to sell its products in Missouri and none of our SSM Health Care - St. Louis hospitals purchase from this company.

"Safety is our top priority at SSM Health Care - St. Louis, and that's why we make sure any pharmaceutical companies that we purchase our supplies from comply with all regulations and meet our high-quality and safety standards. We take numerous precautions and have strict guidelines for our pharmaceutical purchasing practices to help ensure that the medicines we receive and administer are safe and effective for our patients."

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Mercy facilities are not linked to the NECC, according to spokesperson Bethany Pope.

KSDK

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