Officials Seeking Patients Who May Have Received Contaminated Steroid

The drug has been linked to rare form of meningitis tied to 5 deaths and at least 30 illnesses in 23 states

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Dr. Marc Siegel, associate professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said the meningitis outbreak underscores the importance of sterilization procedures in intravenous and intramuscular shots.

"I believe that this could have been prevented by more vigilance," Siegel said.

However, he added that he doesn't expect the number of infected patients to balloon in the near future.

"This is not going to be an epidemic, because the fungus is weak and there isn't a reservoir," Siegel said. "But there will continue to be isolated cases over the next several weeks because of the long incubation period."

Specialty manufacturers like New England Compounding Center make solutions that aren't available from the big pharmaceutical companies, but they aren't subject to the same rigorous safety standards, such as FDA oversight.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about injections for back pain.

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