Rochester, N.Y. - A Rochester
woman is one of more than 400 people in our community playing a game of wait and see. “I saw it on the news but didn’t think about it until my doctor called me on Sunday,” she says.
She asks that we not identify her by name. But she was very candid about the sciatic back pain and arthritis she says severely compromised her mobility. That all changed with the first injection of a steroid into the base of her spine.
“It was very difficult to get out of bed in the morning. After the shot it was wonderful! Wonderful not to have pain anymore,” she says.
She received her back treatment at Rochester Brain and Spine in Henrietta. The New York State Health Department says at least 400 patients in the Rochester area were treated at the facility between mid May and mid September and now must be monitored for symptoms related to a nationwide meningitis outbreak.
The steroid was re-packaged by a New England pharmacy where some of them became contaminated with mold which causes a rare fungal form of meningitis. Across the country 119 people have become ill and five people have died.
No one in Rochester has been diagnosed with meningitis, however 12 people who have developed symptoms have undergone additional testing. Eight of the patients tested negative, the other four results are pending.
Even those in the clear so far may face problems up to one month after receiving the shot. “It’s not a short incubation period so you would need to have a heightened awareness for awhile,” says Dr. Ann Falsey, an infectious disease specialist at Rochester General Hospital.
The woman who agreed to share her story with 13WHAM News has shown no symptoms so far but it will be at least three more weeks before she is in the clear.
She says a pain free life is worth the risk. “There are certain things you can do to protect yourself and there are other things that are not in your control and those are the things you don’t worry about,” she says.
She also says she will keep an appointment Monday to receive her second steroid shot. “I have complete faith in my doctors,” she adds.