Monthly Archives: October 2012

Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

Sorry for the lack of posts as of late, I’ve been a little swamped lately with writing and researching; unfortunately this blog has to suffer sometimes.

I don’t have time to write a complete post right now – maybe soon in the future – but I’ve been closely following the cases of fungal meningitis derived from contaminated injections of the steroid methylprednisolone acetate.  Looks like the main culprit is Exserohilum rostratum, although one person has been infected with a species of Aspergillus. Both of these fungi are extremely common in soils and are plant pathogens.

Here’s some links from the CDC on the current infections:

CDC fungal infections page

CDC information on fungal meningitis

CDC page on the current fungal meningitis ourbreak

As of today, October 12th, the number of infections have been reported from numerous states:

map of fungal meningitis cases

Here’s a quick informational video on fungal meningitis:

Here are some links to news articles published over the few weeks:

CDC: Multistate Meningitis Outbreak Investigation

NYT: Interactive Map – Tracking an outbreak

Meningitis: Top 10 Things CDC Says You Should Know

Fungal Meningitis From Injections: Not Even Close To Over

Republicans Grill FDA Chief On Meningitis Outbreak

Despite Antifungal Treatment, More Woes For Some Meningitis Patients

Pharmacy Owners Had No Hand In Meningitis Outbreak: Lawyers

Second Illness Is Infecting Those Struck by Meningitis

Fungal Meningitis: 404 Cases, 29 Deaths

More bacteria, fungi in drugs from Mass pharmacy

Elio Schaechter’s Small Things Considered: Fungal Meningitis

‘Worried Sick’: Meningitis Risk Haunts 14,000

Documents in Meningitis Case Show Complaints in 1999

Meningitis Outbreak: FDA re-releases list of customers

Meningitis Outbreak Spurs Calls To Strengthen FDA

Meningitis spreads to 19th state, sickens 347

PDF of Food & Drug Administration Assessment of Pharmacy Sterility

FDA: Mold seen in 83 vials of the steroid linked to fungal meningitis outbreak

FDA: Meningitis-linked Pharmacy Knew of Bacteria

Records Show Problems at Steroid Pharmacy as Far Back as ’06

Investigators visit office tied to meningitis cases

Steroid shot near spine gives illness an opening

Fungal meningitis outbreak tied to steroid shots isn’t the first, reports show

NBC News – Experts: Many ways for fungi to taint drugs / Four more die in fungal meningitis outbreak

Sterility Found Lacking at Drug Site in Outbreak

FDA warns of further risk from tainted drugs

Meningitis outbreak rises to 205 cases: CDC

Meningitis: 5th case reported in Minnesota, all women

Another death reported in meningitis outbreak

Legal recriminations begin over major U.S. meningitis outbreak

Lawmakers focus on small drugmakers as meningitis death toll rises

Rare fungal meningitis outbreak spreads to six states

Seven deaths reported in growing meningitis outbreak; second fungus found

U.S. meningitis deaths rise, prompting call for tighter drug rules

Meningitis cases raise questions about steroid shots

CDC: 12 more people infected with fungal meningitis linked to Framingham pharmacy

F.D.A. says avoid drugs from company tied to meningitis

When leaf mold gets in your steroid injection

Meningitis outbreak: 13,000 got suspect steroid shots

Epidural steroid shots debated amid meningitis scare

Rare fungal meningitis outbreak rises; 7 dead, 64 sick

Meningitis outbreak kills seven; continues spreading to ninth state

Fungal meningitis: Know the subtle symptoms

More patients linked to fungal meningitis infections, CDC says

Meningitis outbreak 2012: Steroid related fungal meningitis cases rise to 47

Seven deaths reported in growing meningitis outbreak; second fungus found

U.S. fungal meningitis infections rise to 47

CDC: Death toll in rare fungal meningitis outbreak linked to steroid injections rises to 7

Boston: Former regulator calls for more oversight of compounding pharmacies

UPDATE (December 21st, 2012): CDC Recommends Assertive Clinical Evaluation of Potential Fungal Meningitis Patients

UPDATE (December 21st, 2012): Tainted steroids cause spine infections in addition to meningitis; all patients face grueling recovery

UPDATE (January 6th, 2013): Massachusetts governor offers new pharmacy rules

The Reincarnation Of A Tree

The video below is a little on the cheesy side, but it’s an interesting take on the making of a baseball bat from White Ash trees.  I thought I would post it to you in honor of the professional baseball postseason in the United States right now.  Ash trees across the Eastern United States, and particularly in Pennsylvania, are quickly being destroyed by the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive beetle which spreads fungal infections from tree to tree, so many baseball bat manufacturers are moving to using Sugar Maple.

There is a difference between the wood structure (i.e. cell wall morphology) between Ash and Maple and these slight differences in the wood grain effect how the ball is hit and how far it goes or how much control a batter has over where a ball is hit; at least some players tend to prefer one type of wood over another.