Epidural injections pulled from shelves due to meningitis outbreak

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL (WFLX) - The national fungal meningitis outbreak has forced South Florida doctors to pull epidural injection medications from the shelves. Now, more cases have been reported, and the span of the drug recall has increased.

According to the Center for Disease Control, there are now 91 cases in nine states and seven people have died.

The CDC reports four cases have been reported in Florida; currently, all are in Marion County.

It is possible that hundreds or even thousands of people, who received the injections for back pain from July to September, could be affected.

The Florida Department of Health reports they are now looking into injections that took place since May 21, 2012.

The North County Surgicenter in Palm Beach Gardens is one of eight Florida facilities that received contaminated lots of methylprednisolone acetate medication, but, it says, it has not used any of it.

Fungal Meningitis, which is not contagious, is an infection of the spine and brain. 

The outbreak has been linked to epidural back injections from the New England Compounding Center. Doctors say the injections are used for severe back or joint pain and not for the child labor process. 

The illness includes symptoms that are not limited to fever, headaches, neck pain, nausea, and symptoms consistent with stroke, like weakness on one side of the body and slurred speech. 

Even if the symptoms a person experiences are mild, patients are being urged to contact a health professional. 

The New England Compounding Center has now made a voluntary recall of all of its products as a precautionary measure. 

Monday, the Florida Department of Health continues work to make sure no Florida facilities have the medication.

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