Fungal Meningitis tainted drugs may have used on patients in Macon
A rare fungal meningitis outbreak that has been escalating nationally may have found its way to Macon. The North Central Health District says medication that could be contaminated may have been injected into patients at the Forsyth Street Ambulatory Surgery Center in Macon.
The drugs were received from New England Compounding Center, which made shipments all over the United States.
Although there have been no confirmed cases of fungal meningitis in Georgia, Dr. Charles Richardson of the facility on Forsyth Street says, he and his staff are taking every precaution.
"The minute we received that notice we pulled everything off the shelf sent it back, and as of today we're not using that company anymore," Richardson said.
The drugs have been confirmed as a medication used to treat patients with an epidural steroid injection within the last month.
Of the 189 patients that may have been exposed, the North Central Health District says 160 have already been notified. Of the patients notified, 6 have been referred to doctors for follow-up care.
"If people get sick from it, and they don't get to their physician in time, they are at risk to die," said North Central Health District Director, Dr. David Harvey.
Harvey says symptoms of fungal meningitis are easily mistaken for the flu, but get gradually worse.
"That's why we want to get the word out, because we want the doctors to know if there are any spinal taps associated with any of the illnesses that sound like this, be sure and consider this as one of the diagnosis," Harvey said.
Five deaths have been linked to the infections and cases have been confirmed nationwide, though none have been in Georgia. Dr. Richardson says all he and his staff can do now, is keep making calls to their patients and hope for the best.
"Our staff is making calls constantly all day long to try and make sure that our patient safety is assured, and we'll continue to give good quality medical care," Richardson said.
If you received an epidural steroid injection from the Forsyth Street Ambulatory Surgery Center within the last month, you are asked to contact their office at (478)-743-300.