The US is presently facing a fungal meningitis outbreak, which so far has caused as many as 35 people spread across six states to become ill. Of these, 5 have already died. Moreover, it is expected that others will soon begin to display the symptoms for this disease.
report that most of the cases of fungal meningitis have been reported in Tennessee, where 25 people came to the hospital in need of medical assistance and 3 eventually died in spite of treatment.
Other cases have been reported in Virginia (4), Maryland (2), Florida (2), North Carolina (1), and Indiana (1). The other 2 people who passed away were from Virginia and Maryland, respectively.
Although for the time being no official announcements have been made with respect to what caused this outbreak, it seems that both the CDC (the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and the FDA (the United States Food and Drug Administration) believe that the most likely cause is a contaminated batch of injectable steroid.
Apparently, FDA employees are presently investigating a fungus found in a sealed vial of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate marketed by the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts, and said pharmaceutical company has agreed to halt all marketing and production activities until a conclusion is reached.
As well as this, the three lots presumed to be contaminated with this fungus have been recalled, and doctors are urged to avoid using them.
Commenting on this outbreak, Benjamin Park, the CDC medical officer, made a case of how, “Unfortunately, despite the current recall, we expect to see additional cases as this investigation unfolds.”
Furthermore, “However, it is possible that if patients are identified soon and started on appropriate antifungal therapy, some of the unfortunate consequences may be averted.”
All of the people who became ill were given spinal shots intended to alleviate lower back pains, and several days later displayed symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, weakness, sensory deficit and fever.
Hoping to get control of the situation before things get any worse, health personnel is presently busy contacting all those who might have become infected whilst being treated with said spinal shots.