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Tricare issues alert on meningitis outbreak

Oct. 5, 2012 - 04:55PM   |   Last Updated: Oct. 5, 2012 - 04:55PM  |  
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Tricare is alerting beneficiaries of a meningitis outbreak in seven states related to steroid injections and other medicines that originated at a facility in New England.

A Tricare official said military service members, their families and retirees who have received a steroid injection since July 1 at a private clinic in a state identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as experiencing a meningitis outbreak should consult its">website for more information, and they should see a doctor if they have symptoms of fungal meningitis, including headache, fever, nausea, stiffness of the neck, confusion or aversion to bright lights.

According to the CDC, 47 cases are now linked to tainted medications, including five deaths.

Investigators have focused on several medications made at New England Compounding Center, Framingham, Mass., as a source of the outbreak. Shipments of the steroid went to clinics in 23 states, according to the Associated Press.

The New England Compounding Center shut its manufacturing center Monday voluntarily.

The pharmacy has recalled single-dose vials of the steroid, and the Food and Drug Administration urged physicians not to use any of the company's products.

The states affected are Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana, Florida and North Carolina.

Fungal meningitis is not contagious.

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