North Texas hospital injected tainted steroids linked to meningitis

North Texas hospital injected tainted steroids linked to meningitis

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(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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by JANET ST. JAMES

WFAA/AP

Posted on October 5, 2012 at 3:04 PM

SOUTHLAKE – Some of the tainted medicine linked to 35 cases of meningitis nationwide was injected into more than 100 patients at one Tarrant County hospital, state health officials said Friday. 

On Thursday, health providers learned that steroid shots given to patients for back pain might have been contaminated with a fungus that causes a rare form of meningitis. Five people have died as a result.  

Texas Health Harris Methodist in Southlake received two shipments of the medication.  Hospital records indicate that 114 patients were treated with the preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate steroid, according to the Tarrant County Health Department. Patients are being notified by phone and certified letter.  

No illnesses have been reported in Tarrant County. The hospital is offering follow-up exams to patients who received the injections. 

One Dallas County clinic also received a shipment but did not inject any patients.

The Associated Press reported 75 clinics in 23 states received the tainted steroids, which originated from a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration issued a list of 30 medications produced by the company and urged clinics not to issue them to any patients. 

The AP says the Framingham, Mass.-based New England Compounding Center recalled 17,675 single-dose vials of the steroids. So far, 35 people in Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, North Carolina and Indiana have become infected with meningitis. Twenty-five of those cases are in Tennessee, the first of which was diagnosed two weeks ago. 

It’s not clear how many patients in Tarrant County were injected with the steroid or which clinic it was. 

Meningitis isn’t contagious but can be fatal, health experts say.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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