Dept. Of Health: Meningitis Risk ‘Limited’

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) – At least 20 officials from the Minnesota Department of Health are working to contact the more than 950 people who received injectable steroids linked to an outbreak of fungal meningitis.

Buddy Ferguson of the Minnesota Department of Health says the amount of people at risk is not widespread.

“It’s a limited group. There’s just those two provider groups who used it,” Ferguson said.

The health department says patients at Medical Advanced Pain Specialists in Edina, Maple Grove, Shakopee and Fridley may have received contaminated steroid injections. Also at risk are patients of the Minnesota Surgery Center in Edina and Maple Grove.

Marsha Thiel of Medical Advanced Pain Specialists says her clinics are working to make sure their at-risk patients are properly treated.

“We’re definitely concerned about our patients. We want to make sure they have the appropriate screening,” Thiel said.

Symptoms can include severe headache, nausea, dizziness and fever.

So far, two women in their 40s who received injections from one of the two local providers have been hospitalized.

“They did have some relatively mild symptoms, but they were evaluated. They were tested. There were signs of meningitis in their spinal fluid,” Ferguson said.

Both women are being treated with antibiotics and antifungal drugs.

This strain is different from previous outbreaks of meningitis in Minnesota.

“This is not caused by a virus; it’s not caused by a bacteria. It’s caused by a fungus and people can’t get it from each other. The only way you’re at risk is if you did receive some of the implicated product – the injectable steroid – that we are concerned about,” Ferguson said.

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