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Friday, October 5, 2012 - 12:25pm

Macon Facility Linked To Meningitis Outbreak

A surgery center in Macon administered steroids to 189 people using drugs that have been tied to a nationwide meningitis outbreak blamed for five deaths.

Health officials said Friday that the Forsyth Street Ambulatory Surgery Center received steroids produced by New England Compounding Center.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration found contamination this week in a sealed vial of the steroid at the company. Tests are under way to determine if it is the same fungus blamed in the outbreak.
Dr. J. Patrick O'Neal, director of Georgia's division of health protection, said 160 of the patients who received the drug in Macon have been contacted. None have tested positive for meningitis

Dr. Jesse Jacob, an epidemiologist at Emory University, says only people who have gotten an epidural steroid injection are at risk.

“This is not something that can be transmitted from person to person. People shouldn’t get worried that family members of, for example, someone who had a steroid injection shouldn’t be worried about if that person has it that they can spread it to other people.”he says.

Jacob says such an outbreak is very rare. He says the last fungal meningitis outbreak like this occurred ten years ago, when some steroid medication became contaminated.


Associated Press