Published On: Oct 08 2012 10:20:49 AM CDTUpdated On: Oct 09 2012 01:48:36 PM CDT
Find out what you need to know about the meningitis and the outbreak that has killed at least 11 people and sickened more than 100 others.
What is meningitis?Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What is fungal meningitis?There are five "types" of meningitis. The current outbreak involves fungal meningitis, which is caused by a fungal infection.
The two kinds of fungus linked to the outbreak are widespread and rarely make people sick. People inhale one kind, Aspergillus, all the time via decaying leaves, trees, grain, soil, household dust, heating ducts and building materials.
The second type of fungus, Exserohilum, is found in grass and rotting wood. When it causes disease, it's most commonly a skin infection or inflammation in the sinuses.
How many have died/become sick? As of Tuesday, Oct. 9, 119 cases have been reported. At least 11 people have died.
What caused the outbreak?The current outbreak has been linked to a steroid produced by New England Compounding Center that is commonly used to treat back pain. The steroid has since been recalled.
What states received the steroid injections?California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas, and West Virginia, according to the CDC.
Is it contagious? No. Fungal meningitis is NOT contagious, according to the CDC.
What are the symptoms?Symptoms can include severe headache, nausea and fever. In fungal meningitis, they often appear more gradually and can be very mild at first.
How is it treated? Fungal meningitis is treated with long courses of high-dose antifungal medications, usually given through an IV in the hospital. The length of treatment depends on the strength of the patient's immune system and the type of fungus that caused the infection.
What should I do if I get steroid injections? First, click here to find out if you received potentially contaminated medication between July and Sept. 28 of this year. If so, and you are displaying symptoms, seek medical attention. Symptoms generally appear one to four weeks after an injection.