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More patients warned of meningitis danger

Possibly tainted medication sent to NH clinic


More patients in New Hampshire are being told to keep an eye out for symptoms of fungal meningitis after tainted medication was shipped to several states.

Tennessee health officials said 29 residents are sick from the illness, and three have died. That brings the total of affected patients to 39 people in six states with five deaths.

The steroid linked to the outbreak was shipped across the country, including to a clinic called Pain Care LLC in New Hampshire, after it was manufactured in Massachusetts. The medication is used to treat back pain.

“We know that these lots have been distributed to approximately 75 facilities in 23 states,” said Dr. John Jernigan of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Officials at Pain Care LLC said 186 of their patients might have been exposed, but a doctor at the clinic said that number could double.

“However, the CDC has come out with recommendations for expanding our search to include even patients that have not received epidural injections but received other types of injections, such as joint injections or trigger-point injections into muscle,” said Dr. Michael O’Connell.

Clinic officials said those who could be infected visited two of the company’s 12 locations.

“We’ve only used those lots of steroid from that company in only those two locations, Merrimack and Somersworth,” O’Connell said.

Medical experts said this type of meningitis cannot be spread from person to person. They said symptoms of the illness can include fever, chills, headaches and stiff necks, and some patients could even suffer strokes.