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Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - MEDIA STATEMENT: SJH Response to Recall of Medication Linked to Meningitis October 9

Today, the New Jersey Department of Health reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) its first case linked to an ongoing, multi-state outbreak of fungal meningitis associated with potentially contaminated steroid medication.

A 70-year-old Cumberland County man is hospitalized with presumptive fungal meningitis and is recovering. He received an injection with medication from one of the lots recalled by New England Compounding Center (NECC) located in Framingham, Mass. He developed headaches and went to the emergency room with fever and continued headaches.  He is being treated with anti-fungal medication at South Jersey Healthcare Regional Medical Center in Vineland.

South Jersey Healthcare is working with the CDC and the New Jersey Department of Health, along with our county departments of health, to monitor and care for any patients who are being evaluated or who have been identified by the Department of Health as having presumptive fungal meningitis.

Under patient privacy laws, we cannot provide any further details at this time about any specific patient. However, we will continue to partner with the CDC and Department of Health to continue monitoring these patients and provide updates as appropriate.

Since the medication was recalled and removed from our hospitals on September 26, SJH has worked with the local health departments to reach out to all patients who received it. Special clinics were also offered at the SJH Regional Medical Center for patients to receive a medical evaluation from an infectious disease physician. Through Monday, 102 patients were seen in these clinics, with 17 of those patients being referred for testing to rule out meningitis.

During this situation, we have worked closely with our partners at the County, City of Vineland and New Jersey departments of health. Because this is a public health issue, we are collaborating with the state health department and CDC, and therefore we will continue to follow their lead on the release of any further specific details.

SJH is a nonprofit, integrated health care system, providing access to a continuum of health services. SJH provides hospital services, numerous community health clinics, home health services, and specialty services, which serve the medical and health care needs of southern New Jersey residents.