Tainted steroids linked to meningitis outbreak may have been given to SoCal patients

Medication being prepped for distribution.
Medication being prepped for distribution.
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Patients at two Southland health facilities are among those that may have received potentially contaminated medication linked to a growing national outbreak of a rare form of fungal meningitis.

The two local facilities were among four in California and about 75 around the country that received the painkiller linked to a growing number of illnesses and deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Promptly identifying and treating those who are infected may save lives, the CDC said.

As of Wednesday, the CDC reported 137 people in 10 states have become ill and 12 have died from infections linked to the recalled medication used in spinal injections. So far, there have been no cases reported in California.

But the California Department of Public Health said patients from two facilities — the Encino Outpatient Surgery Center in Encino and the Universal Pain Management in Palmdale — are among as many as 600 California patients who have been injected with the potentially contaminated pain medication called Methylprednisolone Acetate, a steroidal medication, which was recalled in late September.

Universal Pain Management in Palmdale said it had contacted all of its patients but would not disclose how many patients received the medication. Officials at the Encino Outpatient Surgery Center have not returned repeated calls for comment.

Elsewhere in California, officials at medical facilities in Visalia and Ukiah say they are also contacting patients who received the injections.

The CDC has posted a FAQ on fungal meningitis including a list of health facilities across the country that received medication from the recalled batches.