» Subscribe Today!
More of what you want to know.
The Daily News
X

Forgot your password?
Skip Navigation LinksHome >
VOL. 127 | NO. 239 | Friday, December 07, 2012

Health Warning on New Round of Fungal Infections

TRAVIS LOLLER | Associated Press

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Comments ()

NASHVILLE (AP) – Tennessee health officials are once again alerting patients who received tainted steroid shots after finding that some have infections at the injection site that could lead to fungal meningitis.

Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner said Thursday that since Thanksgiving, officials have identified 22 new cases of these localized infections and one case of meningitis without a localized infection. Two patients with the injection-site infections also showed early signs of meningitis.

Dreyzehner said the infections are under the skin, so patients do not see them. Symptoms include increased pain at the injection site, numbness and possible loss of bowel and bladder control.

They can be hard to detect because the signs often are similar to the original symptoms that the patients sought steroid injections to treat – generally back pain and related problems.

"If we are not vigilant for these localized infections, we indeed could have a second wave of meningitis for some people," Dreyzehner said.

The localized infections include abscesses and arachnoiditis, an inflammation that can be extremely painful but not life-threatening by itself.

Dr. David Reagan, Tennessee's chief medical officer, said localized infections were found in many of the state's meningitis patients and health officials believe they are "likely part of the usual mechanism for causing meningitis in this outbreak."

What officials did not realize was how long those localized infections could linger.

"In some patients the localized infection stays localized for many weeks or even a few months before causing enough symptoms that lead to its detection," Reagan said.

Reagan and Dreyzehner said Tennessee has learned from the experience of Michigan, which began looking for localized infections early and has reported 120 of them, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. That is by far the largest number of any of the 19 states affected by the outbreak.

Tennessee has identified 75 of these infections. In all, 107 Tennessee patients have developed either meningitis or local infections or both. Nationally, at least 560 people have been sickened and 36 have died. Thirteen of those deaths were in Tennessee.

Dreyzehner said health officials still do not know when people who received the contaminated steroid injections will be out of danger.

"That's why this is such a tragic and difficult situation," he said. "Imagine having to live with this."

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Sign-Up For Our Free Email Edition
Get the news first with our daily email


 
Blog Get more from The Daily News
Blog News, Training & Events
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 78 260 13,157
MORTGAGES 103 370 17,128
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 26 62 3,362
BUILDING PERMITS 0 366 30,930
BANKRUPTCIES 74 209 12,552
BUSINESS LICENSES 22 65 4,554
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 88 416 19,309
MARRIAGE LICENSES 27 94 4,003

Weekly Edition

Issues | About

The Memphis News: Business, politics, and the public interest.