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Facility may have provided Alaska clinics with contaminated drugs

Craig MedredAlaska Dispatch

After receiving new notification from the U.S. Food and drug Administration, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) today released an update concerning a multi-state meningitis outbreak connected to contaminated injections.

According to DHSS, "The sterility of all injectable drugs produced by NECC, a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts, are now of significant concern in the multi-state fungal meningitis outbreak investigation." DHSS and the FDA are advising health care facilities in Alaska and nationwide to contact anyone who has received an injectable drug produced by NECC after May 21, 2012.

Patients who have received an injection from a NECC drug should be advised that "no action is necessary for persons who do not have symptoms" of meningitis.

The following Alaska facilities have received NECC drugs: AA Pain Clinic, Alaska Center for Facial Plastic Surgery, Alaska Spine Center, Alaska Spine Institute Surgery Center, Alaska's Surgery Center and Alaska VA Healthcare Systems in Anchorage, and the Surgery Center of Fairbanks. All facilities mentioned have been alerted of the possibility of contamination and are planning to conduct patient follow-ups this week.

Symptoms of meningitis may include swelling, pain, redness and warmth at the site of injection; fever, visual changes (including pain, redness or discharge from the eye); stiffness in the neck, nausea and vomiting; sensitivity to light, chest pain or headache.

If you are experiencing symptoms please seek immediate medical attention and contact the facility where you received your last an injection(s).

As of Oct. 15, there have been no identified cases in the state of Alaska linked to the NECC outbreak.