Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you’ve noticed and heard about the fungal meningitis outbreaks that are going on out there. You may have even transported a patient or know of someone who is transported one of these patients and so it’s important for us to continue to expand our knowledge and information about things like this as they come up.

Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Widespread

By last count 27 states were affected by this at least in a peripheral nature as the drug was shipped to all those states. It’s only shown up I think in 11 or 12 states so far as active infections. Up to 14,000 people are potentially affected by this meningitis outbreak. Fungal meningitis is pretty rare and not a contagious form of meningitis, thank goodness, but it can be transmitted directly to the patient if you inject the fungus into their cerebrospinal fluid. This happened while doing epidural steroid administration for instance and that’s exactly what happened here.

It’s not just meningitis cases that are showing up associated with this. There have been at least two reported cases of a joint infection in people receive the same steroid injection into their joints for arthritis and this caused them to have a fungal infection in one of their joints. At this point, I would assume most of the people who received potentially infectious injections have been notified by the health department or by their healthcare professionals.

Meningitis Information at CDC

The problem is that symptoms of infection can take up to four weeks to show up in some patients so they could take a long time for this particular infection to incubate. It’s going to be important for us to stay on our toes and be vigilant about that. I’ll be doing a segment on fungal meningitis over in the Nursing Show this week so if you head over NursingShow.com you’ll be able to check out that episode on fungal meningitis.

This outbreak should clear up in a few weeks on it’s own as any potentially infected individuals ride out the wait for signs and symptoms. I just wanted to give you some information about it in the meantime. You can always go over to CDC.gov and check out any information about any type of massive outbreak of like this. They have the most up-to-date information as they are the central reporting center for the United States. If you go there now, there is a link right on the front page for this outbreak so CDC.gov is always a great resource.

You can follow up on any questions you have about any sort of disease or injury process. They keep track of all kinds of statistics and information over there and have great resources for both the public and for healthcare professionals. We’ll continue to follow up on this fungal meningitis outbreak as it continues to roll out and develop.

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Follow up on the links from this news item and all this week’s additional resources from the MedicCast — EMS Narrative Writing, Part 1 and Episode 305.

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