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Barton Health patients safe from fatal Fungal Meningitis outbreak

(South Lake Tahoe, CA) According to The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there have been 137 persons with Fungal Meningitis reported to be linked to epidural steroid injections of the steroid, methylprednisolone and 12 related deaths. The contamination of these epidural injections was the result of contamination by a single compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts, New England Compounding Center (NECC). 

“Barton Memorial Hospital does not purchase any drugs from NECC nor, for the nine-years that I have been the Director of Pharmacy, has the hospital ever purchased any drugs from that company,” Barry Keil, PharmD, Director of Pharmacy Services for Barton Health stated in a recent memo. “The epidural steroids provided by the hospital pharmacy and used at Barton Hospital, come directly from the drug manufacturer and are not pre-prepared by an outside compounding pharmacy [such as the NECC].”

“The NECC company prepares compounded drugs, including epidural drugs, in large quantities and ships them across the United States to physician practices and hospital pharmacies,” Dr. Keil said. “Please rest assured, that no epidural injections of steroids or other drugs administered at Barton Memorial Hospital are involved in this event, and there is no risk of having received an epidural of a contaminated drug at any Barton facility.”

Persons with Meningitis linked to the epidural steroid injections been reported in Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia – with Tennessee having the highest case count and death rate. The CDC reported this form of meningitis is not contagious. Along with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the CDC is coordinating a multistate investigation of fungal meningitis among patients who received an epidural steroid injection with a potentially contaminated product. For more information on the recall, facilities that received the epidural steroid injection and patient guidance, visit www.CDC.gov.