Indiana News

Rare Fungal Meningitis Spreads to Indiana

Non contagious form of meningitis comes from tainted steroid injection compound

10/4/2012

An outbreak of a rare type of fungal meningitis has spread to Indiana.

35 people have become sick in six states, and five have died so far in the outbreak that is linked to a spinal steroid injection some use to control back pain. The steroid was sent to clinics by a specialty pharmacy, the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts, which has been closed during the investigation into the outbreak.

Pam Pontones, Indiana's state epidemiologist, says one person in the state has been infected with Aspergillus Meningitis, and says at least six clinics received the steroid compound that was tainted.  Those clinics have been notified by the Centers For Disease Control and were told by the CDC to notify anyone who may have received the injections since July 1st.  The compound was officially recalled September 26th.

Unlike bacterial and viral meningitis, this type of fungal meningitis can not be spread from person-to-person.  But though there is treatment available, Pontones says the infection should be taken seriously.  Other states where infections have taken place are Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida.  The CDC says the steroid compound was sent to clinics in 23 states.

Pontones says if you received one of the steroid injections for back pain and you are concerned, you should call your doctor to arrange a checkup.  She says the symptoms are similar to other types of meningitis - fever, stiff neck, headache and sensitivity to light.

@WIBC_RaySteele

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