Eighty clinics and other healthcare facilities in North Carolina have been identified as customers of a Massachusetts pharmacy linked to a nationwide meningitis outbreak, according to a total list of more than 3,000 clinics provided by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Roughly 20 percent of the affected North Carolina facilities are in the greater Raleigh area, including seven in Durham, three in Raleigh, two in Roanoke Rapids and one each in Oxford, Southern Pines, Pinehurst and Wilson.
The outbreak of fungal meningitis, an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, has thus far made 317 people sick across the country, including 24 victims who have died in 17 states, including North Carolina.
Health officials say the outbreak has to do with a steroid made by New England Compounding Company (NECC), which makes custom-mix solutions in doses or forms generally not commercially available.
The FDA has asked all clinics that did business with NECC to notify their patients about any products that came from the pharmacy between May and October.
North Carolina state health officials say patients associated with the affected healthcare facilities should call their doctors if they have concerns or if they are not feeling well.
The New England Compounding Center is currently under investigation by the state of Massachusetts and the federal government. State inspectors found a number of problems at the company's facility during a preliminary investigation, including license violations and "several health and safety deficiencies."
The state of Massachusetts has moved to permanently revoke the company's operating license, as well as the licenses of its top three pharmacists.