Meningitis Outbreak Due to Contaminated Steroid Injections


A meningitis outbreak has led to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate on the matter.

What went wrong? It seems like the outbreak was linked to contaminated steroid injections that was administered to back patients. Although, people being treated with knee, hips and shoulder chronic pain received methylprednisolone injections, more attention was given to back patients due to the serious health risks.

The Injection Treatments

Meningitis Outbreak Due to Contaminated Steroid InjectionsSteroid injections are administered to people with joint pain to relieve them of pain and discomfort. The old people, in particular, have grown sensitive to joint pains so they need pain relievers.

For people with knee, ankle, shoulder and hip chronic pain, methylprednisolone acetate is the injection being given. This was to help the patient regain movement and be free of pain and discomfort. However, problems with back patients occurred. The steroid injections injected in the spine were contaminated and has led to fungal infections.

Fungal Infections

Dr. Suratwala, a spine surgeon at Glen Cove Hospital said that fungal injections are very hard to treat especially if the infection formed in a joint.

How can these infections be treated? Treatment is done through intake of antibiotic for several months but the patient is prone to relapse. There are cases where the patient will need surgical treatment too. While meningitis can appear between 1-4 weeks, infections in joints take a lot longer which makes the treatment more delayed as well.

The Contaminated Injections

The doctor is worried that many more people are at risk. Since joint injections are very common and only the first cases of infection were reported in the past days, Dr. Suratwala believes that there will be more people infected.

Last October 16, 2012, fungal meningitis outbreak already infected 231 people and there were 15 who died. These patients were believed to have been injected with methylprednisolone acetate but they were given contaminated steroid injections instead.

The injections were manufactured in New England Compounding Center. Health officials say that 23 states received the shipment of the medicine and have already been administered to 11,000 patients.

People who experience joint pain rely on this drug because of its quick dosing effect and its ability to not affect the tendons and cartilage within the body.

If you are suffering from joint pain or know someone who is, you should know your rights as a patient.

  • Ask your doctor where the steroid injections are coming from.
  • Ask what type of drug is given to you.

There is power in information. You can prevent this unfortunate outbreak from happening to you and the people you love. Always be updated with the latest health news on joint pain and medication to be always informed. Your life may depend on this.