(10/08/12) - A deadly meningitis outbreak, linked to tainted steroid shots, is spreading across the country and here in Michigan.
The Michigan Department of Community Health says at least 20 people in Michigan have contracted the disease. They received one of the shots, shipped from a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts, to one of four clinics in Michigan - including the Michigan Neurosurgical Institute in Grand Blanc Township.
Of those 20 people, two have died, including a woman from Howell in Livingston County. Sixty-seven-year old Lilian Cary died on Sept. 30, from a stroke, after being infected with fungal meningitis.
The health department is closely monitoring the meningitis outbreak.
Rena Woody just found out that the meningitis outbreak is being linked to a steroid shot given to patients for back pain. She has been dealing with back pain most of her life.
"It's scary because you don't know what's in the shots nowadays and what's not," she said.
The Michigan clinics that received the shots are: Michigan Neurosurgical Institute in Grand Blanc Township, Michigan Pain Specialist in Brighton, Neuromuscular and Rehabilitation in Traverse City and Southeast Michigan Surgical Hospital in Warren.
Woody didn't get the tainted shots. "It just makes me want to bear the pain, but sometimes the pain is unbearable," she said.
The symptoms for Meningitis are headaches, possible fever, nausea, often stiffness of the neck, difficulty turning the head. They may have a sensitivity to light. If you have any of those symptoms, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible.
"One concern is that these facilities are regulated by the state. They're not regulated by the FDA, so they don't go under the FDA inspection protocols," said Mark Valacak, a health officer with Genesee County Health Department. "They're regulated typically by state pharmacy boards and there's some concerns about the safety and the quality of the formulations that are occurring under those manufacturing circumstances."
Fungal Meningitis is not contagious and cases like this are rare.
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