The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is assisting health care facilities across the state deal with recalled medications.
The Food and Drug Administration has recalled all medications manufactured by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass. The compounding pharmacy is responsible for the multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to contaminated steroid injections produced by the company.
Nebraska has no reports of receiving the contaminated product, but 29 health care facilities have received other medications manufactured by the company which have now been recalled.
"The products received in Nebraska have been recalled but ARE NOT the products currently implicated in the outbreak," said Dr. Joann Schaefer, the state's Chief Medical Officer and Director of Public Health for DHHS. "DHHS is working with local health departments to contact health care providers to remind them of the recall and encourage them to follow up with patients who received an injectable NECC product after May 21, 2012 and review their cases. This is being done out of an abundance of caution."
The CDC and FDA continue to coordinate a multistate investigation of fungal meningitis and joint infection among patients who received a contaminated steroid injection prepared by NECC either to the spinal area or in a joint space like a knee, shoulder or ankle.
There are 257 cases and 20 deaths associated with this outbreak spanning 16 states according to the CDC. Federal health officials haven't determined the original source of the outbreak; however it has been linked to three lots of injectable steroid medication. The contaminated medication has been recalled as well as all medication made by NECC.
Meningitis is the swelling of protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. The swelling is usually caused by bacteria or viral infection but it can also be caused by fungus. This is called fungal meningitis.
The types of fungus identified in this outbreak are Exsrohilum, Aspergillus and Cladosporium. Fungal meningitis is not contagious. Treatment for the fungus is long courses of high dose antifungal medications, usually given by IV in the hospital.
Nebraska Facilities That Have Received Recalled NECC Products: