The fungal meningitis outbreak that's terrorized patients around the country has local doctors issuing a warning after the North Dakota Department of Health announced drugs from the company that's been identified as the source of the outbreak came here as well.
The Department of Health is notifying patients who may have received medications from the company, and a doctor who got those drugs at his clinic in Fargo says he wants to get out ahead of the problem.
Several clinics in Fargo received drugs from the pharmacy where the fungal meningitis was found to have originated, as well as one in Grand Forks.
The good news is, it doesn't appear so far anyone's gotten sick in North Dakota.
Dr. Don Lamb runs a plastic surgery clinic in South Fargo. He says three of his patients received drugs from the culprit pharmacy in Massachusetts, New England Compounding Company.
None of the drugs that were sent to Dr. Lamb's clinic or any others in North Dakota have been linked to the meningitis outbreak. The drugs Lamb's patients used were anti-swelling medications for use during plastic surgery procedures.
Lamb reached out to Valley News Live in order to educate people about the details of who's at risk, and who's not. He says not only have none of the drugs here been implicated in the outbreak so far, his patients aren't likely to contract meningitis anyway, since they're not immunosuppressed. Neither, he says, were they injected at sites that don't get much blood flow -- blood flow being part of what battles back the fungus that causes the meningitis. Finally, none of the patients have shown symptoms.
"Since we're on this list, and since it's been made public by the Department of Health, I thought it would be most appropriate to be proactive, so people understand that people understand this medication is one of hundreds, maybe thousands that was sent across the country. However, only one of those was implicated, so far," says Lamb.
Currently, 247 cases of fungal meningitis in 15 states have been reported; 19 people are dead.
The Minnesota Department of Health confirms two new cases, raising the state's total to seven. The new cases are a man in his 50's and a woman in her 40's.