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Nine more Idaho medical facilities may have received contaminated drugs

There are now nine more Idaho medical facilities that may have received contaminated injectable drugs that have been implicated in the nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak; earlier, just two had been identified, and one man from eastern Idaho has been diagnosed with the serious disease. Idaho Health & Welfare reports that it's now contacting nine facilities that received certain pharmaceuticals since May of 2012 that were used for joint pain or used in heart or eye surgeries; they came from the same source as the epidural steroids first identified in the outbreak. Click below for Health & Welfare's full report; the agency said it will identify the facilities when it confirms they received and dispensed the drugs.

NEWS RELEASE--FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                   DATE: Oct. 16, 2012

Health Officials Contact Idaho Clinics About Possible
Infections Related to Expanded Meningitis Investigation

The Idaho Division of Public Health is contacting nine Idaho medical facilities that may have received injectable drugs from New England Compounding Center (NECC) since May 2012 that could pose a potential risk for infection or meningitis. The nine clinics are being urged to contact their patients who may have received injections to make certain they do not have symptoms of infection and to report any new symptoms.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded its investigation of possibly contaminated pharmaceuticals produced by NECC beyond the epidural steroids already recalled. The expanded list includes NECC injectable drugs distributed since May 2012 for joint pain, and also used during heart and eye surgeries. At this time, no illnesses associated with the expanded list of NECC injectable drugs have been confirmed. Idaho Public Health will identify the nine Idaho facilities after it verifies each facility received and used the NECC products. It is not known at this time how many patients may be affected.

In late September, a NECC epidural steroid commonly used for back pain was tied to a fungal meningitis outbreak being investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twenty-three states received shipments of the NECC epidural product, including two facilities in Idaho. Those are Walter Knox Memorial Hospital in Emmett, and Pain Specialists of Idaho in Idaho Falls. With these two facilities, a total of 11 Idaho medical providers may have received and used NECC injectable products since May 2012.

One eastern Idaho resident over the age of 60 is being treated for fungal meningitis that is tied to the outbreak. He is currently hospitalized and responding well to treatment. Nationally, 233 illnesses are being investigated, including 15 deaths.

For additional information about the CDC investigation, please visit:


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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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