There are a handful of local medical facilities on a list of 64 across Ohio where the threat of contaminated medical products at the heart of a nationwide meningitis outbreak is of concern to the state Department of Health.
On the list: Akron Children's Hospital; NOVUS Clinic, Tallmadge; Ohio Retina Associates, Canton; St. Clare Surgery Center, Stow; Vitreo Retinal Consultants, Canton; and Western Reserve Surgery Center, Kent.
The list was released late Thursday by ODH and the state is urging the facilities to contact patients who may have been prescribed products manufactured by the New England Compounding Center. The list is based on those health centers that purchased NECC products since May 2012.
So far, Ohio reports seven cases of fungal meningitis. None were located on northeast Ohio and the nearest case to Akron is in Crawford County.
(Ohio Department of Health) The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is encouraging all health care providers to follow-up with patients who received any injectable products from New England Compounding Center (NECC) since May 2012. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has provided states with a list from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of all facilities that purchased NECC products during that time frame. ODH is making the list of the 64 Ohio facilities available online to aid in the outreach to patients. The list includes any provider who bought a NECC product since May 21, 2012, even topical products, which FDA has indicated are low- or no-risk products.
“We are working with health care providers to reach out to patients, but we need two-way communication,” said Dr. Ted Wymyslo, Director at ODH. “At this time, ODH does not have a count on the number of patients that received drugs in the expanded recall list. Since this investigation is changing so rapidly, it’s critical that Ohioans who received these injections or solutions be informed and watch closely for any change in how they are feeling.”
ODH used a statewide health emergency alerting system to contact health care providers and hospitals throughout the state with this additional guidance from FDA. Local health departments are being tasked with calling each facility in their jurisdiction and supporting those facilities with patient outreach. ODH expects every patient who received a recalled injection to be contacted.
Unlike bacterial or viral meningitis, fungal meningitis cannot be spread person-to-person. Ohio currently has seven cases of fungal meningitis (no deaths), all linked to back injections with steroids distributed by NECC. The case numbers for Ohio could change as CDC adjusts their case definition and Ohio further evaluates each patient.
· Crawford County: 40, female
· Hamilton County: 65, male
· Marion County: 55, female; 45, male; 47, female; 50, female
· Morrow County: 39, female
The medication at the center of the recall is a widely distributed steroid medication used to treat back pain and is administered by injection. Medication provided by NECC may be contaminated with a fungus that has led to some patients to develop a rare form of fungal meningitis (brain infection) and stroke.
On October 3, 2012, the company ceased all production and initiated recall of all methylprednisolone acetate (a steroid medication) and other drug products prepared for injections in and around the spinal cord (known as intrathecal administration). On October 6, NECC announced a recall of all its products. A complete list of all products subject to this recall can be accessed here. ODH alerted health care providers in Ohio to inform them of symptoms that could be cause by the tainted drug as well as updated lists of recalled products. ODH teamed with local public health departments and other resources such as law enforcement to contact every patient who received an injection with methylprednisolone acetate.
ODH’s call for additional outreach to patients comes after the FDA reported that two transplant patients with Aspergillus fumigatus infection were administered NECC cardioplegic solution during surgery. FDA has not confirmed that these two infections were, in fact, caused by an NECC product. The cases did not occur in Ohio.