This photo provided Oct. 9, 2012, by the Minnesota Department of Health shows shows vials of the injectable steroid product made by New England Compounding Center implicated in a fungal meningitis outbreak. (AP Photo/Minnesota Department of Health)
The New Jersey Department of Health is reporting four new cases of probable fungal meningitis. The cases are associated with an ongoing, multi-state outbreak of fungal meningitis connected to potentially contaminated steroid medication.
According to the NJ Department of Health, the four new probable cases are:
The four patients received a steroid injection from one of the lots of medication recalled by the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts. The company has suspended its operations.
The new cases bring the total of affected New Jersey patients being treated with probable fungal meningitis in connection to the steroid medication to eight in all. Seven of those patients are in the hospital while one is being closely monitored by the hospital as an outpatient.
The Health Department states 634 patients received a steroid injection at one of the six healthcare facilities in New Jersey between May 21 and September 26. Those facilities are:
"Nearly all of the 634 New Jersey residents who received potentially contaminated injections at one of six health care facilities have been notified, but any patient who has had a steroid injection and is experiencing symptoms should call their health care provider immediately," said Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd. "Doctors and patients will need to be vigilant for several months because fungal infections can be slow to develop. It may take one to four weeks or longer for patients to exhibit symptoms."
Symptoms of fungal meningitis include the following:
If you received a steroid injection and are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact the facility that administered the injection or a healthcare provider immediately.
Outside of New Jersey, some patients affected in the outbreak have also experienced stroke symptoms, including weakness on one side of the face, a drooping face, numbness and slurred speech. So far there have been 185 cases, including 14 deaths, reported in 12 states.
Health officials say the form of fungal meningitis is not contagious. They are still investigating the source of the fungus and the cause of the investigation.
Click here for more information on the outbreak.
The New Jersey Department of Health will also post daily case updates on its website beginning Monday at 1 p.m. You can find those updates here.