New England clinics on alert after meningitis outbreak
MERRIMACK, N.H. (WHDH) -- New England Pain clinics are on alert after learning drugs investigated in a nationwide deadly meningitis scare were injected into their patients.
“Our primary concern is the health of the patients. We’re not even thinking who’s at fault or anything like that,” said Tom Barnes, Pain Care Clinic Administrator.
Pain care clinics in Somersworth and Merrimack, New Hampshire receive drugs from New England Compounding Center in Framingham. Those drugs are suspected in a fungal meningitis outbreak in six states. Five have died and 35 are sick due to these drugs.
NECC voluntarily shut down operations and recalled the drugs in question, but not before more than 17,000 vials were shipped across the country.
Health officials are urging clinics to immediately stop using any drugs from them.
“This is an extraordinary precaution because we don’t have any reason necessarily to believe there are problems with the other products,” said Dr. Madeleine Biondolillo of the Massachusetts Bureau of Healthcare Safety.
One hundred eighty-six patients in New Hampshire alone received the drug. So far, none have reported to be ill.
“I visited both ERs in the area and talked to one of them and left them information. I want to make sure they have everything that they need and they understand what needs to be done if any of these patients are to arrive,” said Barnes.
In addition to the two pain clinics in New Hampshire, clinics in Rhode Island and Connecticut also received the drugs in question. No clinics in Massachusetts have received this drug and no Massachusetts residents have come down with fungal meningitis.