No Outbreak of Fungal Meningitis in Arkansas

News Release: Arkansas Department of Health  

For More Information Contact:
Office of Health Communications and Marketing
Ed Barham, (501) 280-4147

October 9, 2012 (Little Rock) – A multistate investigation of cases of fungal meningitis in at least ten states is being conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but no cases have been reported in Arkansas so far. This outbreak has been linked to patients who received an epidural steroid injection with a potentially contaminated product.None of the injectable steroids were shipped to Arkansas pharmacies, according to the CDC. At this time it does not appear that any Arkansans have been exposed to this product.

CDC is investigating medications produced by the New England Compounding Center (NECC), which have been associated with this outbreak. The affected lots of medication have been recalled by NECC.

The meningitis cases are among persons who have received an epidural steroid injection (medication injected into the spine). Several of these patients have had strokes related to their meningitis. In several patients, the meningitis was found to be caused by a fungus that is common in the environment but rarely causes meningitis. These forms of meningitis are not contagious.

The epidural steroid medication associated with this outbreak is not the same type of medication that is given to women during child birth.

The Arkansas Department of Health will remain in contact with the CDC and the surrounding states’ health departments throughout the investigation and will issue further advisories as necessary.