Fungal Meningitis – Steroids (Updates)

Eco3 Environmental Uncategorized Fungal Meningitis – Steroids (Updates)

A recent meningitis outbreak has killed 30 people and sickened over 400. The involved fungus, typically has not been associated with such outbreaks. There is a reason, continue reading.

The fungus of topic is Exserohilum rostratum. The fungus is typically found eating plant matter in nature. As we know, mold is very opportunistic and will pretty much flourish anywhere in the right conditions.

Exserohilum rostratum has been identified in lab samples from 52 of those affected and was similarly found growing in unopened vials of steroids. These steroids seem to be the cause of the outbreak.

Exserohilum rostratum prefers warmer, wetter environments, and has been found on a number of different plant species. They infect plants and in some cases precipitate tissue death. Once the plant dies, the fungus can feast on the remains.

It could have found it’s way into human patients through tainted steroids. Once inside a patient the fungus enters the dura matter, which encloses the spinal fluid and spinal cord. The fungus’ filaments were able to penetrate the dura matter, enter the spinal fluid and travel to the brain. 

In some of the fatal cases, the fungal filaments began to grow in the brain, attracting platelets as well as white and red blood cells to aggregate around the filaments, forming a mass that could block blood vessels and initiate strokes. The exact mechanism of all the deaths is still unclear and the fungus’s confinement to just three lots of the drug also remains unexplained.

The tainted steroids can be traced back to  New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, Massachusetts. NECC had shipped more than 17,000 doses of the injectable steroid methylprednisolone acetate to 76 facilities in 23 states.

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