Meningitis outbreak numbers grow

Idaho Falls- The pharmacy at the center of the meningitis outbreak, the New England Compounding Company announced a voluntary recall of every product it makes. The number of meningitis patients has more than doubled since Oct. 5, 2012, and the outbreak has reached nine states, with total cases rising to 105 confirmed infected and nine deaths. Two shipments of the tainted medicine were sent to Idaho- one shipment to Emmett and the other to the Pain Specialists of Idaho Clinic in Idaho Falls. Employees of the Idaho Clinic have been flooded with phone calls since the outbreak was annouced, and they are still working to notify anyone who may be at risk. The clinic is urging anyone who has received epidural injections between July 1-Oct. 1 and who experience symptoms such as worsening of headaches, stiff neck, fever or flu-like symptoms to go to the emergency room. The people who have been infected in other states have also shown stroke-like symptoms such as slurred speech. This outbreak is specific to the epidural injections of the steroid and is not contagious. The Centers for Disease Control is reporting 13,000 patients may have been exposed to the contaminated steroids. No illnesses related to the outbreak have been reported in Idaho. The New England Compounding Center is one of thousands of compound pharmacies that mix their own medicine and are not subject to FDA standards. The New England Compounding Centerhas said it is cooperating with health investigators to determine the source of the infections.

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