Latest On Meningitis And Epidurals

Written by Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Medical EditorThe number of cases of meningitis caused by a fungus-contaminated medication doubled over the weekend.

Scary stuff since meningitis can cause brain damage or death.

A couple of key points to keep in mind as you hear about these cases.

The injection only involves medicine used to inject the spines of people with chronic back pain. It doesn’t apply to epidurals during labor, or injections of cortisone to,say, ease a sore shoulder. Spines only.

Also, unlike meningitis caused by a virus or bacteria, this particular germ is NOT contagious.

The medicine (steroid) only came from one company — what’s known as a compounding company in Massachusetts. That means they mix up their own medicines (compound) — a more natural way to do things, but also riskier. There is no FDA regulation of compounding manufacturers.

Another issue. The contaminated vials were shipped to about 75 clinics in 23 states. None in Colorado, or the surrounding states.

You can find the list of where these vials went on this site:

This is a story that’s far from over, since meningitis caused by this germ can take up to a month to develop after an injection.

Plus, even though there company had pulled all of their compounded medications, it’s not clear if any other more “natural” formulations used for other things may be contaminated as well.

Stay tuned.


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