The North Central Health District says 189 patients were potentially exposed to tainted medication at a Macon clinic.

The facility was identified as the Forsyth Street Ambulatory Surgery Center at 1610 Forsyth Street.

The Macon clinic was among facilities that received tainted shipments of steroid injections used to treat back pain. Federal and state health authorities say the drugs were contaminated with a fungus that can cause meningitis, a potentially-deadly disease.

Six patients have reported mild symptoms and have been referred to their physicians, according to district health director Dr. David Harvey.

One of the surgery center's partners, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Charles Richardson, told 13WMAZ that none of the six patients has meningitis. He said the symptoms they reported are common in a range of maladies including the common cold.

Harvey said the patients are being notified by phone and letter.

A Massachusetts pharmacy is suspected of supplying the steroids, leading to five deaths and dozens of illnesses nationwide.The steroid was sent to 23 states.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says several patients have had strokes related to meningitis after receiving epidural injections of the steroid in the spine.

The CDC stressed thatthe type of epidural medication given to patients affected by this outbreak is not the same medication as that given to women during childbirth.

The North Central Health District says the Forsyth Street Ambulatory Surgery Center probably received the tainted shipment in late September.

Dr. Harvey said the symptoms of this form of meningitis appear slowly, making it harder to treat.

The type of meningitis involved is not contagious like the more common forms. This type is caused by a fungus often found in leaf mold.

The Food and Drug Administration is urging physicians not to use any products from the Massachusetts pharmacy that apparently supplied the steroid, New England Compounding Center.

For more on the meningitis outbreak, visit theCDC's website.

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