Injectable Steroids Should Not Worry You [AUDIO]
A contaminated batch of injectable steroids is already responsible for 91 cases of a non-contagious meningitis nationwide, however it doesn't mean you should be in fear when you see your physician reach for the syringe.
No cases of the meningitis have been reported in New Jersey, though the state Health Department says that as many as 650 patients throughout the state who received the epidural injections of a drug known as methyprednisolone. The contaminated drug was initially recalled by its manufacturer, New England based New England Compounding Center. The Center for Disease Control and the Food and Drug Administration is investigating what exactly led to fungal spores ending up in syringes of the common anti inflammatory.
Dr. Rajindra Kapila, professor of medicine- infectious diseases at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, says many manufacturers put out the steroid, presumable the rest of which is safe to use.
"But in this case, there was some breakdown somewhere in the antiseptic technique that was used to manufacture this drug, and it's impossible to tell where the problem was."
Throughout the several decades that Kapila has been dealing with infectious disease he notes a fungal infection in the syringe is "very very rare." However, because the meningitis is fungal, it creates a much more dangerous situation. Kapila explains fungi are difficult to diagnose.
"And usually the incubation period, that means from the time if injection to the time of sickness is usually days but in this case could be up to a month or more."
He adds the fungi is considered "angio-invasive", which means it invades blood vessels and move up into the brain and produce stroke-like symptoms. The fungi going into the spine and brain is very rare, usually going into the lungs where it manifests different symptoms.
Kapila says luckily the meningitis cases have been inexplicably mild.
"But anyone who had an injection must be seen immediately by a private doctor or specialist."