Second Wave of Tainted Steroid Injections Injures Victims Across the NationDec 21, 2012
By: Gerard Ryan
Health officials believed the fungal meningitis outbreak, caused by tainted steroid injections, was over.
Over the past several months new cases stemming from the original outbreak have been dwindling. However, a new wave of patients have been rushed into emergency rooms after receiving spinal injections. Doctors have come to the disturbing conclusion that there is a new fungal meningitis outbreak from a different batch of tainted steroid injections.
So far dozens of people have been diagnosed with excruciating abscesses or inflamed nerves in their backs that are very challenging for doctors to cure. The victims have been infected by a black mold which infiltrated their spines through common steroid injections. Several cases have already been confirmed but health officials are afraid the true number of infected patients could be much higher. Officials at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) fear that many victims won’t even realize they have been infected since some of the symptoms will mimic the back pain they were trying to treat.
In an attempt to contain the outbreak, doctors at St. Joseph Mercy, in Ann Arbor Michigan, have been scanning every patient with routine back pain who received a contaminated injection. Since they have begun scanning patients, the infection rate has been approximately 14%. Among patients with new or worsening back pain in Michigan, Tennessee, and North Caroline, MRIs have an infection rate of about 50%. Since November 29th,
the CDC has seen at least 90 confirmed cases of spinal infections in patients who received injections.
Any person who believes they may have received a tainted steroid injection should consult their healthcare provider immediately. Treatment of fungal meningitis could require continuous treatments from three months to a year. Many doctors are not sure how to treat this particular type of disease. Dr. John Perfect of Duke University Medical Center, a leading fungal disease specialist, said the medical profession “is flying by the seat” of its pants. Investigations are currently underway to determine the why there is a resurgence of this epidemic.