831 People in MN possibly exposed to contaminated steroid - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

831 People in MN possibly exposed to contaminated steroid

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Minnesota Health Officials are still in the process of trying to reach 831 people who may have received a contaminated steroid now linked to a fungal meningitis outbreak.

The outbreak has now reached a total of 105 people in nine different states. Three cases have been confirmed in Minnesota. So far, eight people have died across the country.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has linked the fungal meningitis cases to a steroid used to treat patients' back pain. Health experts say between July and September, more than 52-thousand vials were shipped from a New England compounding center to treatment centers across the country. 23 states have been sent this contaminated steroid. South Dakota is not one of those states. The vials of the contaminated steroid made their way to 76 clinics. Minnesota has 3 confirmed cases with the risk of more still there.

We spoke with Buddy Ferguson with the Minnesota Department of Health. He tells us the CDC contacted them about the problem last Thursday. From there the department had to start calling about 831 people who may have been injected with the recalled steroid. Ferguson tells us only a couple of healthcare providers received the recalled steroid: Medical Advanced Pain Specialists in Edina, Fridley, Shakopee, and Maple Grove, and the Minnesota Surgery Center in Edina and Maple Grove. These are all in the Minneapolis area but people from all over the state are treated at these places. Ferguson says they worked through the weekend trying to get these patients who likely received the botched steroid on the phone.

Right now they've reached almost everyone. Although some people didn't have a working phone number and others haven't returned voice mail messages that were left. Basically they are asking these people a series of questions about symptoms. They are airing on the side of caution so if these people are showing signs of possible symptoms they are instructing them to been seen by their primary care physician.

Officials are thinking if someone has this fungal meningitis from this recalled steroid they would show symptoms within one to four weeks although it could be longer. That's why they want to get a hold of everyone on these patient lists to make sure they are aware and that they are vigilant about any possible symptoms. Again only people who received this recalled steroid are at risk. Also health officials are not saying all 831 of these people necessarily have fungal meningitis. They just want to get a hold of each of them to find out if they are showing symptoms, and if they eventually start showing symptoms they want to make sure they know what to do. This is fungal meningitis caused by fungus, not bacteria, and not a virus.

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