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Contaminated Drug That May Cause Meningitis Shipped To Idaho


Two Idaho medical facilities received the steroid injections believed to be responsible for a deadly meningitis outbreak.  Nationally, 47 people have been diagnosed with the illness and five people have died.  No one in Idaho has reported getting sick. 

Tom Shanahan is with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.  He says the Walter Knox Memorial Hospital in Emmett and Pain Specialists of Idaho in Idaho Falls received the drug.   “And we’ve notified both of the facilities and they actually are calling all the patients who may have received the injectable drug since July 1 and notified them to be watchful for symptoms.” 

Those include headache, dizziness, fever, nausea, and symptoms of stroke.  

Shanahan says the drug is a steroid, commonly used to control back pain.  “It’s very tightly regulated and very watchful and this is a very unusual occurrence but it’s one that has surfaced and we did receive some of it so we’re going to have to be very careful.” 

Health officials believe the drug was contaminated with a fungus, which is causing the meningitis.  This type of illness cannot be transmitted from person to person.

Copyright 2012 Boise State Public Radio