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More Idaho Facilities Linked To Meningitis Outbreak

walter Knox.JPG
Emilie Ritter Saunders
Boise State Public Radio

A nationwide investigation into contaminated drugs is expanding. The outbreak has already killed 15 and sickened 231, including one man in Idaho, with fungal meningitis.

Two health facilities in Idaho, Walter Knox Memorial Hospital in Emmett and Pain Specialists of Idaho in Idaho Falls, were identified originally in the outbreak.

Now the Food and Drug Administration has expanded its investigation of possibly contaminated drugs produced by a Massachusetts pharmacy. That means as many as nine more medical facilities in Idaho may have received suspect drugs.

The Idaho Division of Public Health is contacting the nine facilities and urging them to reach out to patients who may have received injections. Patients should watch for symptoms of infection and report new symptoms.

The first drugs recalled by the pharmacy were injectable steroids used for back pain. The new suspect pharmaceuticals were used for joint pain and during heart and eye surgeries. Idaho Public Health has not identified the nine facilities and doesn't know how many patients may be affected.

The Idaho man diagnosed with fungal meningitis is from the eastern part of the state. He is currently hospitalized and responding well to treatment.

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