Intervene MD of Mount Pleasant and North Charleston is working to contact 78 patients who received a joint injection of a possibly suspect steroid linked with a national outbreak of fungal meningitis, a state health official said Monday.
Earlier, the clinic contacted 257 people who received a spinal injection of the possibly tainted steroid. Twelve of them have been referred for further evaluation.
All but nine of the patients who received the joint injection have been contacted, said Jim Beasley, spokesman for the state Department of Health and Environmental Control.
The steroid methylprednisolone acetate made by New England Compounding Center has been linked to 214 cases of fungal meningitis and 15 deaths nationwide. So far, no cases of the infection have been reported in South Carolina.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement Monday there is growing evidence that a brown-black mold called Exserohilum rostratum is the culprit in the fungal meningitis outbreak. The CDC said the situation is new territory for public health officials and doctors and it recommended physicians prescribe a powerful anti-fungal medicine called Voriconazole as part of a treatment plan.
CDC officials are awaiting test results for two confirmed cases of septic arthritis in people who rececieved an injection of the suspect steroid in a joint that became infected, said CDC spokeswoman Melissa Dankel.
The tests will determine whether the joint infection is fungal. The patients are in New Hampshire and Michigan, she said.
Septic arthritis is an intensely painful joint infection. Bacteria, or less commonly a fungus, are among the causes.
Read more in tomorrow’s editions of The Post and Courier.