Minnesota meningitis patients are recovering

  • Article by: MAURA LERNER
  • Star Tribune
  • October 11, 2012 - 7:59 PM

Two Minnesotans who developed meningitis after receiving tainted steroids have been released from the hospital, and a third is expected to go home soon, the Minnesota Department of Health said Thursday.

Meanwhile, the national toll in the meningitis outbreak swelled to 170 cases and 14 deaths in 11 states, according to federal officials. All the cases have been linked to tainted steroids made by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass.

And on Thursday, a Savage woman filed one of the first lawsuits in the case, against the Massachusetts company. Barbe Puro received four steroid injections in mid-September and suffered a dramatic rise in headaches and nausea, according to a lawsuit in federal district court in St. Paul. Her lawyer, Jeff Montpetit, said Puro was told by the Health Department that there was a high probability that she got the contaminated steroid, although she has not been diagnosed with meningitis. Montpetit said he hopes to turn the case into a class action on behalf of other victims.

In Minnesota, no new cases have been confirmed since last week, when officials reported that three women in their 40s had meningitis.

"Two of our three cases are out of the hospital and being treated on an outpatient basis," said Buddy Ferguson, a Health Department spokesman. "We are expecting the third to be discharged soon."

However, state officials are awaiting more test results.

More than 800 Minnesotans may have been exposed to the tainted steroids when they received spinal injections at two Twin Cities clinics, Medical Advanced Pain Specialists and the Minnesota Surgery Center, according to the Health Department.

The Massachusetts company recalled about 17,000 vials of the steroid after investigators found three lots contaminated by a fungus that can cause meningitis and stroke.

Maura Lerner • 612-673-7384

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