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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Fungal Meningitis: One Year After the Outbreak

A year ago the medication induced infections were the focus of the US CDC as The New England Compounding Service drew national attention. Today's post is shared from the

A year ago this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention activated its Emergency Operations Center as part of the response to the tragic outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to three contaminated lots of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (MPA) produced by the New England Compounding Center (NECC). As of October 23, 2013, there have been 751 cases of fungal meningitis and other infections associated with this outbreak; 64 of these patients have died. Since July 2013, one new case has been diagnosed.
This week, CDC has two papers in the New England Journal of Medicine, one describing the clinical aspects of the infections associated with this outbreak and the other summarizing the epidemiologic investigation. The clinical paper, focusing on the early stages of the outbreak, describes patients who experienced a wide variety of illnesses, including meningitis, stroke, arachnoiditis (inflammation of one of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord), and epidural or paraspinal infections which ranged in severity from very mild to life-threatening. The epidemiology paper finalizes the original preliminary report published by the New England Journal of Medicine and details the efforts undertaken by public health agencies to identify and stop the outbreak.
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