As of October 8, 2012 there have been 90 reported cases of meningitis in the United States. Meningitis is a bacterial infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms usually come on quickly and may include fever, chills, mental status change, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, severe headache and a stiff neck. Other symptoms that could appear are agitation, bulging fontanels, rapid breathing and poor feeding in children. Meningitis is not a common disease in the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has informed people that this outbreak has affected 7 different US states — Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. It started because patients became ill with meningitis after receiving injections in their spines with a preservative-free steroid which was contaminated with fungi. The steroid, methylprednisolone acetate, is used for the treatment of inflammation and pain. In lab results of nine patients, two types of fungi were found, exserohilum and aspergillus. The CDC has reported that the bad steroids were made by The New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Massachusetts. They have now recalled all of the steroids and contacting all their customers about this outbreak to inform them right away. Treatment includes a series of antibiotics but does not work in viral meningitis. This meningitis outbreak has caused seven deaths already and if it’s not treated right away, more will come.
I believe this is a serious matter at hand for the United States as a whole. We can’t let this outbreak keep spreading like it is, so I think everyone needs to pay attention to signs of meningitis and stay clean and healthy. As long as the people that already have it do their part in quarantining themselves from the rest of the world and take antibiotics then this outbreak should stop rather quickly.
Author: Ian McFarland
Swartz MN. Meningitis: bacterial, viral, and other. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 437.
“90 Meningitis Cases, Outbreak Update Issued By The CDC.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 8 Oct. 2012. Web.8 Oct. 2012. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/251232.php