Thursday, October 23, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Rare meningitis outbreak grows; 4 dead, 22 sick

By
From page A2 | October 04, 2012 |

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An outbreak of a rare form of meningitis is likely to grow after sickening 26 people in five states, including four who died, health officials warned.

All received steroid injections, mostly for back pain, a fairly typical treatment. The drug was made by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts that issued a recall last week and has shut down operations.

The type of meningitis involved is not contagious like the more common forms. This type is caused by a fungus often found in leaf mold and which health officials suspect may have been in the steroid.

Eighteen of the cases are in Tennessee, where a Nashville clinic received the largest shipment of the steroid.. Investigators, though, say they are still trying to confirm the source of the infection.

Three cases have been reported in Virginia, two in Maryland, two in Florida and one in North Carolina. Two of the deaths were in Tennessee, and Virginia and Maryland had one each, said officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More new cases are almost certain to appear in the coming days, said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner. Five new cases were confirmed over the past 24 hours, he said Wednesday, calling the situation a “rapidly evolving outbreak.”

But federal health officials weren’t clear about whether new infections are occurring. They are looking for — and increasingly finding — illnesses that occurred in the past two or three months.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include severe and worsening headache, nausea, dizziness and fever. Some of the patients also experienced slurred speech, and difficulty walking and urinating, Tennessee health officials said.

“Some are doing well and improving. Some are very ill — very, very seriously ill and may die,” Tennessee health official Dr. David Reagan said of the state’s patients.

The incubation period is estimated at anywhere from two to 28 days, so some people may not have fallen ill yet, Tennessee health officials said. At three clinics in Tennessee, officials are contacting the more than 900 people who received the steroid in the past three months.

Investigators also have been looking into the antiseptic and anesthetic used during the injections. Neither has been ruled out. However, the primary suspicion is on the steroid medication. Steroid shots are common for back pain, often given together with an anesthetic.

The Food and Drug Administration identified the maker of the steroid as New England Compounding Center, a specialty pharmacy in Framingham, Mass. Last week, the company issued a recall of three lots of the steroid — methylprednisolone acetate. In a statement, the company said it had voluntarily suspended operations and was working with regulators to identify the source of the infection.

Compounding pharmacies mix ingredients for customized medicines that generally aren’t commercially available. They are regulated by states.

The outbreak was discovered about two weeks ago when Vanderbilt University’s Dr. April Pettit was treating a patient who was not doing well for reasons doctors did not understand.

When the lab found the fungus in the patient’s spinal fluid, Pettit began asking questions and learned the patient recently had steroid injections in his spine, according to Dr. William Schaffner, who chairs Vanderbilt’s Department of Preventive Medicine.

“When it became clear that the infection-control practices at the clinic were up to par, the steroid medication became implicated,” Schaffner said.

Federal officials did not release condition reports or details on all the patients in the five states. Fungal meningitis is treated with high-dose antifungal medications, usually given intravenously in a hospital.

Seventeen of the Tennessee cases were treated at the Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center in Nashville. It had 2,000 vials of the suspect lots, the largest number. That clinic voluntarily closed last month to deal with the investigation.

— On the Net: CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/fungal.html

————

By Mike Stobbe and Travis Loller. Stobbe reported from New York.

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

.

News

 
Versatile cycling contributor Casale Jr. heads to Hall of Fame

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Pioneer students meet K-9 Officer Dexter

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Day of the Dead observance focuses on refugee children

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Military Families seek help to send Hugs from Home

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Parents’ Night Out on Friday at Pole Line Baptist

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
Mercer Clinic benefits from pooch costume pics

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Arboretum plant sale is Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
DPNS has play group, preschool openings

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

UCD Vet Med hosts animal ‘adoptathon’

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
High-flying fun at University Airport

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Fly-casting champion will speak to fishing enthusiasts

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Flea Market planned Sunday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Carlton invites community to its Haunted Harvest

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A4

 
Check out classic cars once again

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Day of the Dead folk art class set

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
A nose for mysteries: ‘Cadaver dog’ work more accepted by cops, courts

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

‘Bak2Sac’ free train ride program launched

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Cooperatives meet community needs

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

Co-op trivia

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

 
Author visits Woodland for community book project

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

.

Forum

I support John Garamendi

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
Knowledgeable, experienced

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

A leader our schools deserve

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
Our view: Two more years for Garamendi

By Our View | From Page: B4

We need Sunder on board

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
We support Archer, Adams

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

A force for good on board

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
Two are especially qualified

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

We have confidence in Madhavi

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: B4

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: B4

.

Sports

Blue Devils look for first home victory

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1

 
Picture perfect: DHS field hockey finishes 14-0

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Davis tennis team takes title

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Devil soccer loss sets up important final week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

Youth roundup: Hurricanes handle American River twice in one day

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
JV/frosh roundup: DHS underclassmen shine in water polo events

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Features

What’s happening

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

 
Hand sanitizer versus soap and water

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8

Girl Scouts join effort to keep kids healthy

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Name Droppers: Foster parent heads to First 5

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

.

Arts

If it can go wrong it will go wrong

By Michael Lewis | From Page: A10

 
 
San Francisco Symphony visits with conductor/pianist Zacharias

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A10 | Gallery

The Rhythm Future Quartet plays at Village Homes Community Center

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11 | Gallery

 
DHS Madrigals host singing workshop

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

DHS Madrigals plan traditional English winter celebration

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
‘Under the Covers’ concert benefits KDRT

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

DMTC plans Halloween karaoke fundraiser

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
All are welcome at Fun Time Follies

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
Jam with folk musicians on Friday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

Dorothy Foytik

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Mariana Brumbaugh Henwood

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Thursday, October 23, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B10