The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is warning residents of an outbreak of fungal meningitis that has resulted in 119 infections and caused the deaths of 11 people. Michigan has 25 confirmed cases, and three deaths, and numbers are growing.
These cases have been linked to a contaminated epidural steroid, and are being investigated in nine states.
Locally, these steroids would have been dispensed from:
• Michigan Neurosurgical Institutes in Grand Blanc.
• Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton.
• Neuromuscular and Rehabilitation in Traverse City.
• Southeast Michigan Surgical Hospital in Warren.
Patients, who received the steroids after July 1, are being urged to watch for symptoms.
As of Oct. 8, most of the patients who received an epidural injection have been notified. The CDC has expanded the notification process to include patients with injections in other sites, such as injections for joint pain. Notification of these patients is ongoing.
On Oct. 3, the New England Compounding Center (NECC) ceased all production and initiated a recall of all methylprednisolone acetate and other drug products prepared for injection into the membrane surrounding the brain or spinal cord. On Oct. 6, NECC expanded its recall to all products produced by the company even though there is no indication at this time of any contamination in other NECC products. A full list of recalled products is available at www.neccrx.com.
Symptoms according to the CDC include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light (photophobia) and altered mental status.
The CDC warns that anyone experiencing these symptoms or symptoms of a stroke should immediately contact their physician. Symptoms have surfaced one to four weeks after the injection.
Fungal meningitis is not communicable and is most likely to affect people with a weak immune system.
Treatment includes a long-course of anti fungal inter venous (IV) medication. The length of treatment depends on the state of the patient’s immune system, and the type of infection.
Physicians should contact the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) concerning “any patients undergoing evaluation.” The MDCH Communicable Disease Division can be reached at (517) 335-8165 to report a case, or ask any questions.
For more information
Go to CDC.gov and search “fungal meningitis”