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What we know and don't know about fungal meningitis outbreak

Date:
October 18, 2012
Source:
American College of Physicians
Summary:
In a new perspective piece, a physician recalls lessons learned from treating patients affected by the 2002 outbreak of Exophiala (Wangiella) dermatitidis meningitis or arthritis related to contaminated, injectable coticosteroids prepared from a compounding pharmacy.

In a new perspective piece being published Online First tonight in Annals of Internal Medicine, a physician recalls lessons learned from treating patients affected by the 2002 outbreak of Exophiala (Wangiella) dermatitidis meningitis or arthritis related to contaminated, injectable corticosteroids prepared from a compounding pharmacy.

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According to the author, the lessons he learned in 2002 are applicable to the current outbreak. He warns that compounding of preservative-free corticosteroids requires meticulous sterility to ensure lack of fungal contamination. Without this sterility, fungus grows aggressively.

As seen with the current cases, once injected, the fungus can travel through the body's tissues rapidly, leading to invasive mycosis. However, the incubation period from exposure to disease could be up to six months, so exposed patients will need to be followed for a long time. While there were many people exposed to the fungus in 2002, all but one fatal case were successfully treated with voriconazole.

Treatment decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis, but the author writes that evidence from the previous outbreak suggests voriconazole as the logical antifungal drug for initial treatment. Due to the aggressive and deadly nature of the disease, it is important for physicians to act decisively and early.

The author warns that these outbreaks will happen again if pharmacy societies, the FDA, and the pharmaceutical industry do not work together to regulate pharmacy compounding.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American College of Physicians. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. John R. Perfect. Iatrogenic Fungal Meningitis: Tragedy Repeated. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2012; [link]

Cite This Page:

American College of Physicians. "What we know and don't know about fungal meningitis outbreak." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 October 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121018185953.htm>.
American College of Physicians. (2012, October 18). What we know and don't know about fungal meningitis outbreak. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121018185953.htm
American College of Physicians. "What we know and don't know about fungal meningitis outbreak." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121018185953.htm (accessed April 25, 2015).

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