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Thursday, March 7, 2013

ALERT: New Warning for Meningitis Outbreak Patients


The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a new alert this week for patients who received contaminated steroid shots produced by the New England Compounding Center. 

Because many of these new cases are among patients with minimal symptoms, CDC is re-emphasizing the recommendation for clinicians to remain vigilant for fungal infections, especially in patients with mild or even baseline symptoms, and consider evaluation with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) if clinically warranted.

According to this article: “We are seeing some patients with very long incubation periods,” said Dr. Tom Chiller, associate director for epidemiological science in the CDC’s division of foodborne, waterborne and environmental diseases. “We expect to see people getting infections months after their injections.”

The danger of not detecting the infections is they only will get worse, Chiller said. “Any untreated infection can sit there and smolder and spread,” he said, noting it can move beyond soft tissue to bone and the central nervous system, with devastating, even deadly, effects.

CDC officials want health workers to continue to monitor patients, particularly those whose have pain that is worse or different from the initial symptoms. But even patients who previously tested negative for infections and those with no apparent symptoms are at risk.

These infections may be unrecognized because some patients have not continued to receive close clinical follow-up or because they have not recognized symptoms suggestive of a localized infection.

If I was a patient involved in this outbreak, I would contact my doctor as soon as possible to discuss my current health and treatment, in order to determine if more needs to be done on my behalf. Meningitis can be deadly and it is vitally important for outbreak patients to be extremely watchful for any symptoms and consult with their doctors as needed.

For all the details about the change in treatment guidelines and outbreak statistics, follow these links:

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