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      Steroid linked to Meningitis outbreak sent to Chicago area

      Nationally, at least 35 people have contracted fungal meningitis and five of them have died.

      Illinois health officials say a steroid medication suspected of causing an outbreak of a deadly form of meningitis was shipped to a pain clinic with six locations in the Chicago area.

      Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said Friday that no cases of the illness have been reported in the state.

      The APAC Centers for Pain Management has notified patients who may have received the now-recalled steroid and stopped using the drug.

      A hotline for the clinic's patients has been set up to respond to concerns. The number is 708-699-5402.

      Officials at Passavant Area Hospital in Jacksonville, Mo. confirm that the hospital has not purchased nor administered the steroid injection linked to the deadly meningitis outbreak. ??All of our steroids are purchased from commercial manufacturers and are subject to FDA approval, rather than the compounding pharmacy in question,?? Richard Atkins, Staff Pharmacist at Passavant, said.

      Passavant officials recommend individuals who have had an epidural steroid injection within the time frame (July-September 2012) with any of the following symptoms ?? fever, new or worsening headache, nausea, seek medical attention immediately.

      Please visit the CDC website for ongoing information and updates www.cdc.gov/HAI/outbreaks/meningitis.html.

      Nationally, at least 35 people have contracted fungal meningitis and five of them have died.

      All received steroid injections, a common treatment for back pain, in the past few months.

      (Passavant Area Hospital Director of Community Relations Monica Eoff contributed to this AP story.)