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Utah Department of Health gives alert after Idaho gets hit with fungal meningitis outbreak

Published: Monday, Aug. 31 2015 9:35 a.m. MDT

This photo provided by the Minnesota Department of Health shows vials of the injectable steroid product made by New England Compounding Center implicated in a fungal meningitis outbreak. About 17,700 single-dose vials of the steroid sent to 23 states have been recalled. None of those vials reached Utah health care providers. (Associated Press/Minnesota Department of Health) This photo provided by the Minnesota Department of Health shows vials of the injectable steroid product made by New England Compounding Center implicated in a fungal meningitis outbreak. About 17,700 single-dose vials of the steroid sent to 23 states have been recalled. None of those vials reached Utah health care providers. (Associated Press/Minnesota Department of Health)

An Eastern Idaho man was diagnosed Thursday with fungal meningitis from a recent outbreak of the infection. On the same day, the Utah Department of Health asked Utah residents to be aware of any symptoms related to meningitis, according to a press release.

The New England Compounding Center distributed steroid medication, typically used for back pain, which had potential contamination. Though Utah health care providers never received the recalled medication from New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., they did receive other medication from the facility.

On Oct. 6, recalls were expanded to all products from the Framingham location, according to the Utah Department of Health. However, the other medications have not been known to be a threat, according to the release.

Idaho and Nevada did receive potentially contaminated medication from the facility, according to the report.

"However, none of the recalled medication was administered to patients in Nevada before being pulled from use," according to the press release.

Those that received treatment in either Pain Specialists of Idaho in Idaho Falls, Idaho or Walter Knox Memorial Hospital in Emmett, Idaho could be subject to meningitis, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At the facility in Emmet, Idaho, four people were given injections, and in the Idaho Falls clinic 35 people received the medication, reported NPG of Idaho, a news station in Idaho Falls.

"We urge patients who received injections from either of these facilities to maintain close contact with their medical providers and notify them if any new symptoms develop over then next few weeks," said Dr. Christine Hahn, Idaho State Epidemiologist to NPG of Idaho.

"About 14,000 people received the injections, though it's not clear how many of those shots were tainted," said officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the The Washington Post.

For those 14,000 people, symptoms to watch for include being sensitive to light, having a stiff neck, fever or headache, mental status changing, nausea and vomiting, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Fungus causing human disease is notoriously slow to grow and hard to identify," according to the Post.

Email: ehong@desnews.com Twitter: @erinhong

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