published Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Health warning on new round of fungal infections

This undated photo made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a branch of the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus. The fungus can also cause skin infections if it enters a break in the skin. The meningitis outbreak is linked to the fungus being accidentally injected into people as a contaminant in steroid treatments. It's not clear how the fungus got into the medicine.
This undated photo made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a branch of the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus. The fungus can also cause skin infections if it enters a break in the skin. The meningitis outbreak is linked to the fungus being accidentally injected into people as a contaminant in steroid treatments. It's not clear how the fungus got into the medicine.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE — Tennessee health officials are once again alerting patients who received tainted steroid injections after finding that some have infections at the injection site that could lead to fungal meningitis.

Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner announced Thursday that since Thanksgiving officials have identified 22 new cases of these localized infections and one case of meningitis without a localized infection. Two patients with the injection-site infections also showed early signs of meningitis.

Dreyzehner said the infections are under the skin, so patients do not see them. Symptoms include increased pain at the injection site, numbness and possible loss of bowel and bladder control.

State health officials said just before Thanksgiving that about 900 patients had received injections from recalled lots of the steroid but hadn’t developed meningitis.

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