BLOOMINGTON — While there are no Illinois cases of the fungal meningitis associated with an outbreak in several states, public health officials advise anyone concerned after having a recent epidural steroid injection to call their physician.
“If you’ve received an epidural steroid injection for pain since July, it’s best to consult your doctor” if you don’t know which medication was used, said Kera Simon of the McLean County Health Department.
But Simon added, “We do not know of the medication in question being administered locally.”
As of Tuesday, 105 people in nine states had become ill after apparent fungal contamination of an epidural steroid injection medicine called methlprednisolone acetate, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Eight people had died.
This type of meningitis is not contagious, CDC said. Treatment is available.
Infected patients received the medicine from three lots produced by the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts, which recalled the medicine. In Illinois, the only health care provider that received the recalled medicine was APAC Centers for Pain Management in the Chicago area, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
APAC is working with the state agency and health officials in Chicago and Cook County. All patients who received the medicine by epidural injection have been contacted, said Melaney Arnold of IDPH.
Patients who received a spinal injection containing the recalled medicine may experience fever, headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light or stroke-like symptoms one to four weeks after receiving the injection. Seek medical attention, Simon said.
Not all patients who received the medicine will become sick.
Meningitis refers to inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, according to CDC. Inflammation generally is caused by a bacteria or virus but also may be caused by fungi. Severity of the illness and treatment depend on the cause.
Illinois averages 600 cases of viral meningitis and 265 cases of bacterial meningitis each year.