Drug Linked To Rare Meningitis Outbreak Shipped To Texas

EL PASO (October 4, 2012)--Texas is among 23 states that received shipments of a steroid used to treat back pain that’s now linked to a rare fungal meningitis outbreak that has killed at least five and sickened 35 people.

None of the deaths or illnesses occurred in Texas.

Christine Mann, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, confirmed the painkiller produced by the New England Compounding Center was shipped to Texas and said the agency is looking for cases linked to the product.

It hasn’t confirmed any, so far.

The Framingham, Mass.-based company has recalled three lots of the drug.

Thursday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned doctors and hospitals not to use any product from the specialty pharmacy that made the steroid.

An official with the Food and Drug Administration said tests found contamination in a sealed vial of the steroid at the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts.

More tests are under way to determine if it is the same fungus linked to the outbreak.

Meningitis is inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

People with weakened immune systems are more at risk.

Symptoms include nausea, sensitivity to light and altered mental status.

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