Valley Hospital: We Never Used Product, Vendor Linked to Meningitis Outbreak

A Massachusetts compounding company is believed to be responsible for producing a tainted steroid used for back pain that might be responsible for eight deaths nationwide.

Patients who received an epidural steroid from Valley Hospital need not worry there's a link to the deadly outbreak of meningitis, according to the hospital.

"As concern grows about contaminated spinal injections for back pain that have been tied to a fungal meningitis outbreak, we want to reassure our patients that neither The Valley Hospital nor the Valley Institute for Pain have ever used the product or vendor implicated in the outbreak," the hospital said Tuesday.

Eleven people have died and 119 cases of fungal meningitis have been linked to a steroid injection used to treat back pain, the CDC said Tuesday. An estimated 13,000 people in 23 states could be exposed to the deadly infection, according to Reuters. Thus far, confirmed cases of meningitis have only been linked to 10 of the 23 states.

The first case in New Jersey was reported by the state health department on Tuesday.

"A 70-year-old Cumberland County man is hospitalized with presumptive fungal meningitis and is recovering. He received an injection with medication from one of the lots recalled by New England Compounding Center (NECC) located in Framingham, Mass. He developed headaches and went to the emergency room with fever and continued headaches. He is being treated with anti-fungal medication at South Jersey Healthcare Regional Medical Center at Vineland," a statement from the state Health Department said. 

"Due to the fact that this is an ongoing investigation, physicians need to closely monitor patients who were administered steroid injections from the three recalled lots," Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd said in the statement.

Federal authorities believe the drugs were produced by NECC in Massachusetts, a large-scale compounding center that operates with little federal oversight. The company voluntarily recalled all of its products and is cooperating with authorities, Framingham Patch reported.

Like Valley Hospital, other local North Jersey hospitals also have not used the vendor nor steroid believed to have caused the meningitis outbreak, according to a Tuesday report on Teaneck Patch.

One Teaneck doctor's office, however, was found to have received the contaminated epidurals. As many as 650 people across the state may have received the tainted steroid from six separate facilities since July, state health officials have stated. 

This report was last updated at 2:24 p.m. Tuesday to reflect the higher death toll linked to meningitis.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.


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