OSF Doctor weighs in on Fungal Meningitis outbreak

By Mark Bullion

October 9, 2012 Updated Oct 10, 2012 at 10:11 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- The death toll for the recent national outbreak of Fungal Meningitis has so far reached 11; however, local hospitals are reassuring patients in Central Illinois are safe.

It's no doubt been a scary few weeks across the United States as over 100 cases of Fungal Meningitis have been reported by the Centers for Disease Control linked to contaminated steroid injections.

"This batch of medication came from a local compounding pharmacy whose sterility procedures were not adequate," said OSF's Illinois Center for Pain Medical Director Dr. John Marshall.

For residents in Central Illinois, no worries here, neither OSF St. Francis Medical Center, Methodist Medical Center, or Proctor Hospital use the injections.

"This is a very serious infection but the important thing is is that the contaminant came from an isolated pharmacy in New England," added Dr. Marshall.

New England Compounding Center to be exact. Health officials say Fungal Meningitis is not contagious but can produce symptoms like fever, severe headaches, stiff neck, nausea, confusion and an inability to maintain balance.

As many as 13,000 people may have received the contaminated injections.

The incubation period for this illness is rather prolonged, it's up to a month so we expect new cases to be discovered around the country over the next few weeks," said Dr. William Schaffner with Vanderbilt University.

New England Compound Center has recalled all of its products and has surrendered its license.

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