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Do you know anyone who might be at risk of developing fungal meningitis?
October 11, 2012 at 9:38 AM

Deadly Meningitis Outbreak Spreads: Do You Need to Worry?

Posted by Jacqueline Burt on October 9, 2012 

syringeYikes! A deadly meningitis outbreak already sounds like pretty much the worst kind of outbreak that can, um, break out. But the numbers make it sound even worse: So far, the current epidemic has sickened 105 people across 9 states, killing 8. And then there's the scariest number of all: As many as 13,000 people might have been exposed to this "rarely seen" strain of fungal meningitis. Yikes! How did this whole thing start -- and who needs to worry about it?!

Well, here's the good news: Fungal meningitis is not spread from person to person.

Nope, this outbreak has been linked to steroid spinal injections, which were sent to clinics in 23 states. All three contaminated lots of methylprednisolone acetate steroid, which is used to treat back pain, have been recalled, but there's no telling how many of the shots already administered may have contained the meningitis-causing fungus. (Note: These are NOT the same steroid shots given to women during childbirth.)

So if you haven't received any steroid injections lately, you're probably in the clear. Just in case, you should know that some of the symptoms of fungal meningitis differ from the symptoms of regular meningitis -- here's what to look for (some patients exhibit just one or two of these):

Headache

Fever

Nausea

Stiffness of the neck

Confusion

Dizziness

Discomfort from bright lights

Symptoms have been appearing between one and four weeks after patients received the shots. If you have any fears, get to the doctor asap: Fungal meningitis is potentially treatable! (Usually by intravenous high-dose antifungal medications.)

Do you know anyone who might be at risk of developing fungal meningitis?

Replies

  • Vertical15
    October 11, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    I don't know anyone off the top of my head but thats sad and scary.

  • TerriC
    by TerriC
    October 12, 2012 at 7:11 AM

    About two weeks ago, my sister had to be rushed in for severe back pain (she lives in CA).  She did get a shot and some pain meds.  Thankfully (knock on wood), so far so good.  She still has a lot of back pain, but shows no signs of being given that particular shot.

  • batjmom
    by batjmom
    October 12, 2012 at 8:08 AM

     I dont know anyone.  This is very scary.

  • egyptian_mommy
    October 12, 2012 at 8:59 PM
    Not that I know of. It's scary though.
  • new_mom808
    October 13, 2012 at 8:20 AM

     There are actually a couple of guys that I work with that have had these  injections.

  • TigerofMu
    October 13, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    Guess it's a good thing I'm not on steroids?

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