Published: Oct 04, 2012 3:49 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 04, 2012 4:43 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Department of Health (DOH) is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state partners and other states on the meningitis outbreak associated with epidural (spinal) injection of methylprednisolone. DOH is currently investigating two confirmed cases in Marion County (an 87-year old male and a 65-year-old female.) DOH will continue our work with Florida health care facilities in receipt of the contaminated drug to determine if there are additional potential cases.

Fungal meningitis, which is not transmitted from person to person, from a potentially contaminated product is suspected to be the cause of the outbreak. Investigation into the exact source is still ongoing. However, interim data show that all infected patients received injection with preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (80mg/ml) prepared by New England Compounding Center, located in Framingham, MA.

The lots of medication that were used on infected patients have been recalled. The lots are:

Methylprednisolone Acetate (PF) 80 mg/ml Injection, Lot #05212012@68, BUD 11/17/2012

Methylprednisolone Acetate (PF) 80 mg/ml Injection, Lot #06292012@26, BUD 12/26/2012

Methylprednisolone Acetate (PF) 80 mg/ml Injection, Lot #08102012@51, BUD 2/6/2013

On Sept. 21, 2012, the CDC was notified by the Tennessee Department of Health of a patient with the onset of meningitis approximately nineteen days following epidural steroid injection at a Tennessee ambulatory surgical center (ASC). All initial cultures of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and blood were negative; subsequently the patient had Aspergillus fumigatus isolated from CSF by fungal culture. On Sept 28, 2012, investigators identified a case outside of Tennessee, possibly indicating contamination of a widely-distributed medication.

Infected patients have presented approximately one to four weeks following their injection with a variety of symptoms including: fever, new or worsening headache, nausea, and/or new symptoms consistent with a stroke. Some of these patients’ symptoms were very mild in nature.

If individuals are experiencing any of these symptoms and have had a recent injection, they should contact their healthcare provider.