According to recent reports released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of cases of fungal meningitis has soared recently.
Reports indicate that the rare fungal meningitis outbreak that has recently reached epidemic proportions has now claimed 36 lives. The infection has also affected 541 patients who received the tainted steroid injection for back pain produced by the New England Compounding Center that is now under investigation. The tainted lots of the steroid were distributed to more than 75 medical clinics across 23 states and according to the CDC, over 14,000 patients were exposed to the injection of these solutions.
Most of the fungal meningitis cases happened in 19 out of the 23 states that have received these tainted injections.
The Food and Drug Administration shut the compounding pharmacy linked to this outbreak down and is now investigating the facility. Two other steroids also produced by NECC were also discovered to have been contaminated with fungal matter. All lots affected were identified. Although a recall was issued, reports show that some doctors stopped using the steroids only after the CDC started warning all affected clinics of the risks associated with these injections.
The federal agency has stated that although the infection is rare, it isn’t contagious. Patients with the rare fungal meningitis or other complications related to these tainted steroids are not be able to pass on the illness to another person under normal circumstances. The fungus reportedly linked to this outbreak is known as “Exserohilum Rostratum” or as “Aspergillus Fumigatus”. The fungus linked to this outbreak is a black mold that is rarely linked to humans since it can be usually associated with the infection of numerous plant species. The current outbreak, however, has been discovered to have been caused the Exserohilum Rostratum, which has been responsible for all infections with the exception of only one case of the infection.
The Aspergillus Fumigatus fungus is a commonly airborne fungus that is widely found in nature. Humans are known to inhale Aspergillus Fumigatus spores daily but under normal circumstances, the immune system in most humans reacts to the presence of the fungus and eliminates any of the spores. Individuals with compromised immune systems could be infected since the spores may become Patheogenic, which could lead to a series of illnesses. Since the fungus associated with this outbreak was directly injected in the spine column of these patients, the fungus became Patheogenic and victims became infected with the rare disease.
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