Genesee County woman dead from fungal meningitis - WNEM TV 5

Genesee County woman dead from fungal meningitis

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WNEM TV5 has learned a 56-year-old Genesee County woman is among the patients who died from fungal meningitis linked to a tainted drug.

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) confirmed 25 cases of fungal meningitis within the state.

The two other victims include a 78-year-old Washtenaw County woman and a 67-year-old Howell woman whose family identified as Lilian Cary. 

"We don't have an expectation of a faulty regulatory or medical system that allows these types of mistakes to be made," said George Cary, Lilian Cary's husband.

"So far, we have identified and contacted 1,900 individuals in Michigan who have received this product and may be at risk for developing meningitis," said Angela Minicuci, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Community Health.

As of Oct. 9, 119 cases and 11 deaths have been reported from 10 states.

The infected patients received a steroid injection with one of three lots of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate prepared by the New England Compounding Center (NECC), located in Framingham, MA.

The four Michigan facilities that received shipments of these recalled lots are working with MDCH to notify patients who may have received this product between May and October and may be at risk for developing the illness. The facilities are:  

  • Michigan Neurosurgical Institutes in Grand Blanc
  • Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton
  • Neuromuscular and Rehabilitation in Traverse City
  • Southeast Michigan Surgical Hospital in Warren

 The number of cases is expected to increase. The age range of current identified patients is 46 to 89 years old.

These fungal infections are not transmitted person to person. Infected patients have become ill approximately one to four weeks following their injection with a variety of symptoms.

Patients who received epidural injections have presented with symptoms including fever, new or worsening headache, neck stiffness, sensitivity to light and/or a new neurological deficit such as weakness or numbness, consistent with deep brain stroke.

Those receiving joint injections may present with increasing pain, redness or swelling at injection site. Some patients' symptoms were very mild in nature.

Any individual who received a steroid injection at one of the four Michigan facilities and is experiencing the symptoms described above should immediately contact their physician or seek medical attention.

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