Thinking twice about shots after meningitis outbreak - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Thinking twice about shots after meningitis outbreak

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(10/17/12) - Health officials continue to speculate the exact cause of the deadly fungal meningitis outbreak.

Experts say there are many ways fungi could have gotten inside the Massachusetts pharmacy - including dirty conditions at the pharmacy, tainted ingredients or careless lab technicians.

Whatever the reason, the affects have some people thinking twice about getting any kind of shot.

If needles scare you, the multi-state, deadly fungal meningitis outbreak is probably enough to give you nightmares. But a local doctor says it hasn't slowed down traffic in her office.

"In my life practice, I haven't heard of any cases of contamination of a product where it triggered fungal meningitis," said Dr. Wafa Abbud, of McLaren Regional Medical Center.

Investigators are working to find what caused the contamination inside the New England Compounding Center.

In the meantime, Dr. Abbud has been busy addressing nervous patient concerns.

"Definitely, people kept on calling us, asking questions because they weren't sure," she said. Weren't sure if they were at risk.

But according to the Centers for Disease Control, if you haven't received a steroid injection in the spinal cord, knee shoulder or ankle, you are safe.

Fungal meningitis cannot be passed from person to person.

"It's not an epidemic where you have to be concerned that from a contagious standpoint," Dr. Abbud said.

Dr. Abbud says people have lots of questions, but they are still getting their vaccinations.

"My patients have been very, very appreciative, actually to the fact that I have been delivering this preventive care," she said.

But she says more needs to be done to keep patients safe. "I sure hope that eventually we will generate a system that would be very fool proof for every single medical product that we use because obviously our lives are very important."

The outbreak has killed at least 15 people and sickened more than 200 others in 15 states.

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