Two batches of methylprednisolone acetate, a steroid injected to treat pain, are suspected of being contaminated with fungus, possibly causing the small outbreak of meningitis symptoms in Maryland, Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia that has resulted in 4 deaths to date (about another 2 dozen have been diagnosed with meningitis symptoms).
The batch was made without preservatives, and health officials including the CDC suspect it was the source of the fungal infection. Hundreds of treated patients are being contacted to be tested, but so far only a handful have had meningitis symptoms.
Meningitis, or inflammation of the meninges tissue in the brain, is more often caused by viruses than fungi. Symptoms include headache, neck stiffness, and fever. Since those can be symptoms for many diseases, the important meningitis symptoms to watch for are changes in mood, memory, and personality. Confusion, sudden sensory-input sensitivity, or other strange behavior needs to be evaluated by a medical professional immediately.
Fungal infections cause particularly nasty cases of meningitis, often requiring daily lumbar punctures to relieve pressure on the brain. On top of that, the medication used to treat fungal infections has its own host of unpleasant symptoms (like kidney and liver damage).
While these are certainly rare and unusual circumstances, it’s a good reason to support your immune system, especially when you have health problems that weaken it!
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