Public health workers are still looking for two people who received by joint injection a suspect steroid linked with a nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak in people who received the drug by spinal injection.
Intervene MD of North Charleston and Mount Pleasant provided the injections to 335 people.
“Our staff continues to work with the physicians and staff of Intervene MD to contact the remaining patients,” said Jim Beasley, spokesman for the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.
The two patients who have not yet been located are among 78 people who received a joint injection of methylprednisolone acetate from three lots of the drug totaling 17,600 doses that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating for contamination. The FDA estimates that 14,000 people are at risk nationwide.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday reported 268 cases of fungal meningitis and three cases of fungal joint infections in a knee, hip, shoulder or elbow. Fungal meningitis linked to the tainted steroid has caused 21 deaths. No deaths have been associated with peripheral joint infections.
Fungus found in some vials of methylprednisolone acetate is the same type found in patients who have tested positive for fungal meningitis, the FDA reported.
None of the 257 Intervene MD patients who received a spinal injection of the possibly tainted steroid have been confirmed to have fungal meningitis. They have all been informed of the situation and the need to be aware of any new symptoms that might be indicators of the illness.
The injections of suspect methylprednisolone acetate occurred between May 21 and Sept. 26, when the drugs were recalled. Fungal meningitis is not contagious.
Intervene MD is the only location in the state that received the possibly tainted steroid.
Area hospitals who administered other New England Compounding Center drugs to patients are in the process of contacting them because that is what the FDA recommends. The agency has advised physicians that it cannot guarantee sterility of other NECC drugs, but it has found no evidence of fungal contamination in the other drugs as it did in methylprednisolone acetate.
Roper St. Francis Healthcare said it is contacting 208 patients who received the NECC pain drug nalbuphine. The Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center said it will contact 30 people who received cardioplegia, a drug used to stop the heart during surgery. East Cooper Regional Medical Center said it is contacting 25 patients who may have received the steroid triamcinolone acetonide and six patients who may have been treated with mitomycin eyedrops.
The Medical University and Trident Regional Medical Center said they did not purchase NEEC products.