Sunday, Oct 21, 2018
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No cases of deadly meningitis found locally


No Toledo cases of a deadly fungal meningitis involved in a national outbreak are reported, but that hasn’t stopped worried residents from contacting the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department.

“We’re getting some calls,” said Dr. David Grossman, health commissioner. “The ones who are concerned are the ones who have had an epidural anywhere.”

One Ohio and 25 Michigan fungal meningitis cases are linked to potentially contaminated epidural steroid injections, and 11 related deaths are reported nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A total of 119 cases had been reported in 10 states as of Tuesday afternoon.

Three of the deaths occurred in Michigan. The Michigan Department of Community Health said the deaths are all women — a 56-year-old from Genesee County, a 67-year-old from Livingston County, and a 78-year-old from Washtenaw County.

Four Michigan and four Ohio medical facilities received the recalled medication — often used to treat patients with back pain — from New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass.

The Michigan sites are in Grand Blanc, Brighton, Traverse City, and Warren. Two Ohio clinics are in Marion — the Marion Pain Clinic and BKC Pain Specialists — and one each is in Cincinnati and Dublin, a Columbus suburb.

Dr. Grossman said the local health department is trying to determine if two as-yet unidentified Toledo medical facilities received any products from the lab in question. “It’s possible that [they] may have received product from there. They may not have received tainted product,” he said. “We are going to find out if, indeed, they order from that facility.”

A 65-year-old Ohio man is hospitalized for treatment in the state’s lone case, said Tessie Pollock, an Ohio Department of Health spokesman. The department did not identify the patient or the clinic where he received an epidural steroid injection.

Those who received the treatment should look for symptoms including a new or worsening headache, neck stiffness, fever, weakness or numbness, and possible swelling at the injection site. They should contact their doctors if they are experiencing symptoms, health officials said. Fungal meningitis is not contagious.

“If the patient is not having those symptoms, we just ask them to continue to look for them,” a Michigan Department of Community Health spokesman said.

Contact Vanessa McCray at:vmccray@theblade.comor 419-724-6065.

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