CDC: Mt. Pleasant doctor's office received tainted steroid shots

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - The meningitis outbreak continues to grow to more than 105 cases.

None of those are in South Carolina even though a Mount Pleasant doctor's office received a batch of the tainted steroid shots.

The Centers for Disease Control reports InterveneMD in Mount Pleasant received the shipment.

A spokesperson for the practice says they have contacted all 189 patients who got spinal steroid injections from their clinic.

They say the staff worked through the weekend talking to patients and answering questions.

InterveneMD released the following statement on Monday:

We want to update the public on the situation related to the outbreak of fungal meningitis. Tragically, cases of a rare form of meningitis have been implicated nationwide in the illnesses of 105 people and in the deaths of eight people who have received epidural pain relief injections to help them manage back pain. 

Today the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control has notified us that we should contact all patients who received injections using this medication after May 21, 2012, using any of the three recalled lots of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (80mg/ml) produced by New England Compounding Pharmacy (NECC.) We are in the process of contacting these patients. We are advising them of the signs and symptoms of fungal meningitis and making ourselves completely available to answer all patient questions.

Additionally NECC had one other medication, betamethasone steroid, which was in use at our practice, which we voluntarily removed from use. We replaced medications from NECC for epidural pain relief with medications from a different manufacturer. We do not have any medications from NECC in our supply.

We initially were notified on Wednesday, September 26th by the manufacturer of the medicines that there was a voluntary urgent recall of suspect medicines from three lots of methylprednisolone. We immediately removed all vials of the medication from use and returned them to the manufacturer.

On Monday, October 1st the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) confirmed this with us and in cooperation with them we immediately began notifying our patients who may have received recalled medications.

Each person has been asked to seek immediate emergency treatment if they have any symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), this illness takes from one week to one month following exposure to develop. In the October 8 update to InterveneMD, the CDC wrote, "all infections detected as of October 8 have occurred after injections with methylprednisolone acetate products from the 3 recalled lots.  At this time, there is no evidence of infection related to other NECC products. As of October 8, no infections resulting from injection into a peripheral joint space have been reported."

It is a relief that none our patients are showing any signs or symptoms of meningitis. Five patients -- at our urging -- have gone to the emergency room for further examination. At this time, none are known to have meningitis.

We have been and continue to be available to speak with our patients. We invite them to phone us with any questions, issues or anxiety. We are providing medical counseling and following all CDC recommendations.

We urge anyone who has recently had epidural treatment for back pain to contact their doctor. If you are our patient and have questions, we want you to call us.

Epidural steroid injections for the management of pain have been used for many years and have relieved pain in thousands. This treatment has allowed many individuals to experience an improved quality of life and be more productive.

We have been safely providing effective relief from back pain for patients with problems using treatment with epidural injection for 35 (collective) years.

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