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Report: Alaska has received no meds implicated in meningitis outbreak

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Posted: Sunday, October 7, 2012 11:56 pm | Updated: 11:34 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services issued a news release Sunday saying some of the products on an expanded recall list prompted by a meningitis outbreak in the Lower 48 have made it to Alaska.

None of the medication specifically implicated in the meningitis outbreak has come to the state, however, according to the state’s news release.

The meningitis outbreak is associated with pain medication injected into the spine. Ninety-one cases have been reported from a total of nine states, with seven deaths linked to the outbreak.

The company that distributed the medication associated with the meningitis outbreak, New England Compounding Pharmacy, expanded the recall as a precautionary measure to include all products created at and distributed from one of its plants.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Massachusetts Board of Registration in Pharmacy are investigating.

“Alaska has had no reported meningitis cases associated with the implicated product,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Joe McLaughlin.

The Alaska providers who received medications on the precautionary recall list have been notified to return them.

Meningitis is an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

Bacterial meningitis can cause death or brain damage, even if treated, according to the CDC. Viral meningitis is milder and usually passes without treatment.

The CDC says symptoms can present themselves quickly and include the following: Fever and chills, nausea and vomiting, severe headache, stiff neck, sensitivity to light and changes in mental status.

Contact the newsroom at 459-7572.

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