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Tainted steroids infect Nassau man

AP Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione reports hundreds

AP Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione reports hundreds of people may be at risk from meningitis-tainted steroid injections. (Oct. 5, 2012) Credit: handout

A Nassau man who came down with septic arthritis has been confirmed as New York State's first case in the national outbreak of fungal illnesses from tainted steroids made by a New England specialty pharmacy, state health officials said Thursday.

The man, who was not identified, was injected in a joint on or about Sept. 25 at a Mineola office and developed complications early last week, said Mary Ellen Laurain, Nassau County health spokeswoman.

The Nassau case makes New York the 16th state to be affected in the outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. So far, 254 people have developed meningitis, and 20 of them have died, while three, including the Nassau man, developed joint infections, the CDC said.

Laurain said the man has been in the hospital, but his infection is not life-threatening.

Septic arthritis can be serious, and symptoms include fever, chills, joint pain, swelling, redness, stiffness and joint heat. It occurs when fluid in the joints, which are usually sterile and free of microbes, is infected -- in this case by fungus.

The CDC confirmed the case Wednesday, Laurain said.

The victim received the steroids at the Action Sports Medicine and Pain Management, one of three offices in the state with tainted batches. The others were in Rochester and Mount Vernon.

Action Sports administrator Neil Thakur said 17 clients were injected with the tainted product from Sept. 21 to 25.

The office has informed them and has been monitoring them, he said, but it may be weeks before symptoms show.

"We don't know of any other issues or adverse affects of any other patients," Thakur said.

Action Sports received 30 single-dose vials from the New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass., he said.

Center officials could not be immediately reached but have shut down operations and recalled all their products.

Thursday, federal health officials said laboratory tests showed the fungus found in the tainted steroid shots matched the one blamed in the national meningitis outbreak.

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