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National Meningitis Outbreak

In April 2013, there was an outbreak of meningitis. Visit for the latest information.

Frequently Asked Questions

What caused the outbreak of meningitis?

The outbreak has been linked to epidural injections of steroids for back pain. The FDA has said the steroid causing the outbreak came from the New England Compounding Center, based in Framingham, Mass., where last week they found fungus in a sealed vial of the steroid. Those sickened took injections belonging to one of three lots of steroids made at New England Compounding Center, which have now been recalled.

Does Mercy purchase drugs/compounds from this company?

Mercy does not use products from this company. As a result, Mercy patients are not at risk from this outbreak. In addition, no cases have been reported in Iowa nor has the drug been sold to any pharmacy in Iowa. Mercy will continue to monitor the situation. You may also visit the following website for the latest information:

What is meningitis?

The outbreak is of fungal meningitis which is an inflammation in the brain or central nervous system. Fungus can enter the blood stream from contaminated injections and attack the spinal cord. It is a potentially fatal condition, though not contagious. Doctors often overlook the signs because it's so rare and symptoms can be as mild as headaches. Treatment consists of antifungal agents given intravenously.

What is being done?

The company recalled three lots of the drug last week and has said it has voluntarily suspended operations and is working with regulators to identify the source of the infection. The FDA has requested those who use the New England Compounding Centers steroids to immediately discontinue use and isolate the products from other medicines. Mercy does not use supplies from this company. In addition, the New England Compounding Center surrendered its state license to operate on Wed., Oct. 3. Those organizations that purchased the steroids are reaching out to those patients receiving these injections.