Michigan hospital granted privileges to treat meningitis victims

Meningitis

State health regulators have eased the way allow an Ann Arbor hospital to treat more victims of a fungal meningitis outbreak.

The Michigan Department of Community Health said that it granted emergency approval for the St. Joseph Mercy Health System to use a mobile MRI service. MDCH said that St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor has treated more of the meningitis patients than any other hospital in the country, according to NECN.com.

Tainted steroid methylprednisolone acetate injections from a compounding pharmacy have sickened more than 450 people across the United States. Sixty-five cases of meningitis and 86 cases of a new illness, an epidural abscess, have been identified in Michigan.

An epidural abscess is an infection located near the spine where the initially injection was administered. It is a localized infection but can cause meningitis, an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, according to the New York Times.

The abscesses appear to have formed while patients were taking powerful antifungal medications to reduce their first infections. Without treatment for the second infection, several victims have had to return to hospitals for surgery.

State regulators have also expedited a request by the hospital to expand its operating rooms, which are considered critical to treating the increasing number of cases.

The New England Compounding Center, the pharmacy linked to the infections, is currently under investigation by federal and state authorities.

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