Official: 4th case of meningitis confirmed in Minn.by Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Health on Saturday confirmed a fourth case of fungal meningitis in the state linked to steroids produced by a Massachusetts pharmacy.
Department spokesman Doug Schultz says the latest Minnesota case involves a woman in her 70s, who is now being treated.
The first three Minnesota cases involved women in their 40s. Two of the three were released from the hospital earlier this week, and the third was expected to leave soon.
The drug, produced by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., has sickened more than 180 people in 12 states, killing 15. Most of the patients received the steroid in spinal injections for back pain.
The head of the Minnesota Pharmacy Board has said the New England company may not have had the right license to operate in the state. It sold the drug to two Twin Cities clinics, Medical Advanced Pain Specialists and the Minnesota Surgery Center, which operate in Edina, Fridley, Shakopee and Maple Grove.
An estimated 800 Minnesota patients were exposed to the potentially contaminated steroid injections. Nearly all were contacted by state officials last weekend, and several hundred reported mostly mild symptoms that could be signs of a meningitis infection.
The New England Compounding Center recalled about 17,000 vials of the steroid after investigators found three lots were contaminated by a fungus that can cause meningitis and strokes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.