By Michelle Durham
TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – New Jersey’s Health Commissioner has identified the six healthcare facilities that dispensed medication that has been associated with a deadly outbreak of non contagious fungal meningitis. Two of them are located in South Jersey.
Commissioner Mary O’Dowd has identified Premier Orthopedic Surgical Associates in Vineland and South Jersey Healthcare in Vineland and Elmer as the two South Jersey healthcare organizations that received the tainted medicine.
“We are contacting every patient to let them know what happened and [we are] going over any signs or symptoms that would represent a potential problem that we would want them to come get evaluated for,” says chief medical officer of South Jersey Healthcare Dr. Steven Linn.
Those symptoms include a, “headache, especially a worsening headache, fever, focal neurologic symptoms, something like facial pain, weakness somewhere, slurred speech, other types of changes in your neurologic system. [If you have these] you need to be evaluated by your Doctor,” Dr. Linn explains.
Dr. Linn says it’s important that patients contact the healthcare organization where they received the medication, because even though thousands of patients receive epidural injections for neck or back pain there are only three batches of medication from one company that have been identified as a problem.
South Jersey Healthcare has notified their ER staff and set up a special hotline for their patients.
For the latest information on the meningitis investigation, visit www.cdc.gov.