State Rep. Joe Graves encourages local residents to remain aware of the potential meningitis cases in the area, stemming from contaminated steroid injections that were administered at the Michigan Neurosurgical Institute in Grand Blanc.

An investigation is under way in Michigan, which has linked an epidural steroid injection from one of the three lots of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate prepared by the New England Compounding Center (NECC), located in Framingham, Mass. This product was shipped to clinics in nearly two dozen states.

Michigan Neurosurgical Institute in Grand Blanc, and three other facilities in Traverse City , Warren and Brighton all worked with the state health department to identify and notify roughly 1,900 individuals who received the product between May and early October.

"Michigan Neurosurgical Institute and the Michigan Department of Community Health are working to directly notify patients that could have been exposed to this contaminated drug and are at risk of contracting meningitis as quickly as possible and I encourage local residents stay aware of the situation," said Graves, R-Argentine Township and ". "The FDA recall helped determine which facilities had the contaminated drug and now local residents should pay attention if they received steroid shots at Michigan Neurosurgical Institute during this timeframe."

Patients infected with fungal meningitis have presented with a variety of symptoms generally one to four weeks following their injection, including fever, headache, neck stiffness, sensitivity to light, and/or a new neurological deficit, such as weakness or numbness.

The MDCH also outlined fungal meningitis facts to calm residents’ concerns:

  • Injection of the steroid into joints for pain treatment may develop a local infection with pain, redness or swelling at injection site, but only epidural injection may lead to the risk of contracting of meningitis; and
  • The fungal infections are not transmitted person-to-person.

"I encourage anyone experiencing symptoms or with questions regarding meningitis to contact their doctor or the local health department, but it's important not to panic or jump to conclusions when dealing with this situation," Graves said

As of Oct. 16, 2012, there have been 47 cases of meningitis in Michigan and 3 deaths.

Additional information about the Michigan investigation can be found at www.michigan.gov/mdch through the Emerging Diseases link; for information about the CDC and FDA investigations, visit www.cdc.gov/hai/outbreaks/meningitis.html or www.fda.govlDrugs/DrugSafety/ucm322734.htm.