NH DHHS Announces Update to Fungal Meningitis Investigation in NH

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) continues its

investigation into the implications of the national fungal meningitis

outbreak here in New Hampshire. There are now three sites in New Hampshire

that received and used the 3 lots of contaminated steroid medication: Pain

Care, LLC’s Somersworth, Merrimack, and Newington locations. To date,

there are no confirmed cases of fungal meningitis in New Hampshire, but

nationally, a total of 119 cases, including 11 deaths have been reported in

10 states.

New England Compounding Center (NECC), located in Framingham,

Massachusetts, produced the contaminated medication and has voluntarily

recalled all products it produced since January of 2012. However, all

cases so far have resulted after injections with products from the original

3 lots of recalled medication.

Pain Care, LLC has identified 742 patients who may have been exposed to the

recalled product. DPHS is working to ensure that all patients are

notified by the end of today.

“We continue to work very closely with Pain Care, and are assisting with

outreach to their patients who may have been exposed to the steroid

medication,” said New Hampshire’s Public Health Director Dr. Jose Montero.

“Initially, based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention (CDC), patients who received epidural injections were being

contacted. But as the investigation has evolved, patients who received

non-epidural site injections are now also being contacted.”

There are many different types of meningitis, a general term for an

infection or inflammatory process involving the lining of the brain and

central nervous system. The cases under investigation have no relation to

the much more common forms of bacterial or viral meningitis. This

particular form of meningitis cannot be passed from person to person, but

can be very serious, even fatal.

Symptoms of meningitis include: headache, fever, nausea, stiff neck and

sensitivity to light and in this type of meningitis symptoms may be or have

been mild in some cases. CDC is recommending that patients who feel ill

with the above symptoms or have weakness or numbness in any part of the

body or slurred speech after receiving this medication should contact their

healthcare provider. Also patients who received injection of the medication

to joints should report to their provider if they have local symptoms

including increased pain, redness or warmth at the site of the injection.

For more information visit the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/hai  the DHHS

website at www.dhhs.nh.gov or call the DPHS Bureau of Infectious Disease

Control at 603-271-4496.