PARKERSBURG - The national fungal meningitis outbreak is close with the fungus having been found in a sealed vial of steroid from the PARS Pain Center in Parkersburg, an official said.
Health officials and the clinic are working to notify all patients at risk as some may have received steroid injections from the recalled lots, said Patrick Burke, regional epidemiologist with the Mid-Ohio Valley Health Department.
"As of Oct. 5, there have been no reports of meningitis associated with this clinic," Burke said.
Only patients that received steroids between Aug. 6 and Sept. 26 are considered to be at risk.
The West Virginia Bureau for Public Health has said 230 patients received injections of the back pain medication at the PARS Pain Clinic.
It is not known how many people received tainted injections, or even whether everyone who got the medication will get sick. More than 900 patients received shots from the suspected lots from two clinics in Tennessee alone.
As of Saturday, there have been seven reported deaths, another 64 cases in nine states related to the patients who have received epidural steroid injections of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate prepared by New England Compounding Center, located in Framingham, Mass., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at www.cdc.gov.
The medication - three lots consisting of 17,676 single-dose vials of the steroid - has been recalled and the Food and Drug Administration has documented fungal contamination in a sealed vial taken from the manufacturer. Several hundred vials have been returned unused, officials reported.
The company has shut down operations and said it is working with regulators to identify the source of the infection.
The CDC and FDA have been coordinating the multi-state investigation into the outbreak of fungal meningitis from the medication since about two weeks ago after a case was diagnosed in Tennessee.
Patients who have received the injections should contact their physicians if they have any symptoms related to the illness.
Symptoms of fungal meningitis emerge approximately one to four weeks following the steroid injection and include fever, neck stiffness, light sensitivity, new or worsening headache, nausea and a new neurological deficit consistent with deep brain stroke. Fungal meningitis is not transmitted from person to person.
The New England company is known as a compounding pharmacy. These pharmacies custom-mix solutions, creams and other medications that generally aren't commercially available in the form or dose required.
While no cases from this outbreak have been reported in West Virginia, there have been 11 cases and one death in Virginia, one case in Ohio and one death and three cases in Maryland.