Fungal meningitis cases are on the rise. As per the CNN report, the numbers have leaped to 91. 27 cases were reported in one day. The key reason for this non-contagious meningitis outbreak across almost 11 states in the U.S. is the spinal jab of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate from the New England Compounding Center (NECC), which has been administered to patients, as a form of pain relief treatment.
What is fungal meningitis? Meningitis is swelling of the meninges, which are protective membranes that cover spinal cord and brain. Now, the inflammation can happen due to presence of virus, bacteria or even by drugs. It is classified as a medical emergency, because it can be life threatening. The recent meningitis outbreak is due to fungal contamination of epidural injections, made by NECC. Apparently, the fungus was directly introduced into central nervous system via contaminated epidural spinal injections.
John Jernigan, MD, director of the CDC’s office of health care infection prevention, research and evaluation, sharing his views to WebMd, said,
The attack rate is still to be determined, but so far it appears that the vast majority of patients who received the injection have not developed evidence of meningitis. But the investigation is ongoing, and exposed patients and their physicians should be vigilant for signs of illness. The good news is, that those who have got the spinal jab need not worry, since this is the non-contagious form of meningitis.
It is imperative that people who have received a spinal epidural injection in the recent past, look out for following symptoms, as mentioned by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Look out for these signs; they may just end up saving your life,
- Stiff neck
- Nausea and vomiting
- Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
- Altered mental status (feelings of confusion/not behaving the usual way)
So, in case you have taken a spinal jab, and have any of the above mentioned symptoms, between one and three weeks after being injected, do not stall, see the doctor right away. Everything else can wait, for the earlier the diagnosis, the better the chances of survival.