Steroid responsible for meningitis outbreak not carried in Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Representatives from Doctors Care Medical Center, Grand Strand Regional, and McLeod Regional say the contaminated steroid responsible for the meningitis outbreak was never administered at their centers.

Dr. Dennis Rhoades is the medical director of Doctors Care in the Grand Strand.

"Medication that we use here in a doctor's office or in a nursing care center is a different type of steroid all together," Rhodes said.

The drug is used for back pain and is given in the form of an injection. A private compounding company is Massachusetts manufactured the drug. Shipments of the drugs went to 23 states, including South Carolina.

The contaminated steroid contained a fungus known as aspergillus according to the Center for Disease Control. It caused patients to contract a form of fungal meningitis which is not contagious.

"But the fungal meningitis is almost always from some other site-- some other source that had to be injected into the patient," Rhodes said.

Five people have died so far and there have been 35 cases across six states including North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.

"It was a strange reaction. It's very unfortunate that there were deaths already but it's one of those situations that's so rare and so unique," Rhodes explained. "There had to be so many factors happen in a certain way for this to happen."

According to the Center Control, no cases have been reported in South Carolina.

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