Meningitis: What You Need to Know about the Latest Outbreak

October 18, 2012
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Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

You may have heard about the recent meningitis outbreak caused by contaminated steroid injections for back and other joint pain. These injections, produced by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, Mass., from May 21 to September 26 of this year, were somehow contaminated with the fungi Exserohilum rostratum and Aspergillus, both of which can cause meningitis – an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

Sinai and Northwest hospitals did not receive any of these contaminated steroid injections lots, so those who received injections at only those facilities are not at risk. However, so far we have seen 15 patients from other clinics that carried the contaminated injections. One of these cases is a probable infection; we’re awaiting confirmation from the CDC. LifeBridge Health is following all of the protocols established by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to handle this situation.

Because this form of meningitis is caused by a fungus, it is not contagious and cannot be spread from one individual to another.

There are about 14,000 individuals who received these injections and are at potential risk for the condition. Nationwide to date, 233 people have developed fungal meningitis from the contaminated injections.

The CDC says it has contacted most of the people who received these injections, but some were not able to be reached. If you or a loved one may be affected and are experiencing the symptoms below, please call your primary care physician immediately.

Meningitis Symptoms

-Holly Hosler