In the first week after news broke in early October that contaminated steroid injections from a New England compounding pharmacy were the likely cause of a multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis, dozens of patients who had been exposed to potentially contaminated injections at a private pain management practice began presenting each day in the emergency department of a nearby hospital, St Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Hospital in Ypsilanti, Mich.
“In that first week, there was a day our emergency department did more than 60 spinal taps,” said Anurag Malani, MD, an infectious disease specialist at the hospital. “We had this massive influx of [exposed] patients, probably a couple hundred that first week.”
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Physicians and public health authorities are grappling with how to treat fungal meningitis and spinal infections caused by injections of steroid medications contaminated with the fungus Exserohilum rostratum.
More than 590 cases of fungal meningitis in 19 states, including 37 deaths, have been traced back to contaminated steroid injections.
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