The health risks of the fungal meningitis outbreak of 2012 that began in mid-September are still not behind those people unfortunate enough to have received contaminated injections of methylprednisolone acetate manufactured and shipped by the New England Compounding Center to outpatient facilities in 19 states.
CDC's December 20 Health Alert Update
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health update yesterday, alerting physicians to the continued concern for the development of spinal or paraspinal infections in those who had received injections of MPA before the recall of the potentially contaminated drug on Sept. 26.
For the more than 13,000 people who received injections into their backs in one of the 19 states known to have received shipments of any one of three contaminated batches of MPA who have not yet been sickened by them, there is increased reason for concern about the possibility of infections below the skin at or near the spinal injection site.
According to NBCNews.com , researchers from three of the 19 affected states had magnetic resonance imaging tests performed on 128 of such people who now had new or worsening symptoms, such as injection site pain. The MRI testing revealed 52 percent of those tested had signs of an active infection, ranging from an abscess to infection of the bone.
What the Newest Health Alert Means to Affected People
The CDC's latest update repeats the recommendations provided to clinicians on Nov. 20, namely to use an assertive approach in obtaining an MRI with contrast testing for anyone known to have received the contaminated spinal injections and who have new or worsening symptoms.
In addition, the federal agency is recommending clinicians also consider an MRI with contrast testing for people who had received the contaminated spinal injections but have only a persistence of the same symptoms they've had all along, namely back pain. Due to the chronic pain experienced by these individuals, they may not notice any new, subtle symptoms.
Current Data on Fungal Meningitis Outbreak 2012
Although neither physician knew it at the time, the actions of Dr. April Pettit, a Tennessee physician, and Dr. Marion Kainer of the Tennessee Department of Health in the identification of fungus as a cause of a recently diagnosed case of meningitis and then linking the source of the infection to a contaminated injectable drug used in spinal injections, was the beginning of a public health nightmare .
As of Dec. 17, 620 individuals have suffered some sort of adverse condition secondary to having received either contaminated spinal injections or joint injections. Three hundred sixty-seven of those people have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis and 218 people have been diagnosed with infections of the spine or paraspinal area. The outbreak has claimed the lives of 39 people.
Smack dab in the middle of the baby boomer generation, L.L. Woodard is a proud resident of "The Red Man" state. With what he hopes is an everyman's view of life's concerns both in his state and throughout the nation, Woodard presents facts and opinions based on common-sense solutions.