United Hospital Center Responds to National Meningitis Outbreak - WBOY - Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

United Hospital Center Responds to National Meningitis Outbreak

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United Hospital Center held a press conference Thursday afternoon to share information regarding a national fungal meningitis outbreak.

The hospital said it had purchased two products manufactured by the New England Compounding Center during the recall period, that started on May 21, 2012. The NECC has since shut down.

NECC has more than 2,300 products. Some of which have been linked to the fungal meningitis cases. Fungal meningitis is not contagious.

One of those products was never given to any UHC patients and will be sent back.

The other product, Tetracaine was given to 25 patients at UHC.

That product is currently classified with the Food and Drug Administration as having "little to no risk."

Tetracaine is a medication often used with spinal epidurals to control pain during the procedure.

 The hospital said none of its patients have shown any symptoms, and every patient that was given that product is beyond the FDA's typical symptom window frame of one to four weeks.

However, 245 cases and 19 deaths have been reported nationwide. Surrounding states including Ohio and Virginia have reported cases of the fungal meningitis.

UHC has sent a letter to each of the 25 patients that received Tetracaine. In that letter, UHC said "Neither UHC, nor our affiliated clinics have ever purchased any of these products currently linked to the outbreak." A full copy of that letter is posted on the right.

UHC encourages anyone with meningitis symptoms to go to the Emergency Room. Symptoms include:

New or worsening headache, fever, sensitivity to light, stiff neck, new weakness or numbness in any part of your body, slurred speech, increased pain, redness or swelling at your injection site.

UHC provided media outlets with a slideshow that outlines the outbreak locally and nationally. You can view that document on the right hand of the screen.

For additional information you can also contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at 1-800-232-4636.

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