The Food and Drug Administration released a statement on the recent Fungal Meningitis Outbreak (http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm322734) from an injectable steroid produced by the New England Compounding Center. The steroid was administered to patients suffering from back pain at clinics in Tennessee, Virginia, and North Carolina. Web MD (http://www.webmd.com/news/20121003/4-dead-tainted-spinal-steroids) reported that the fungus was Aspergillus fumigatus, which is a mold often found in homes and buildings impacted with water damage. The U.S. EPA identifies it as a Group I water intrusion mold in the DNA based moldiness index or ERMI (http://www.epa.gov/microbes/moldtech.htm) . However, the FDA has yet to confirm the species identity of the fungus. The CDC. (http://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/fungal.html) states on their website that fungal meningitis is rare and lists several different fungi as infectious agents. They include: Cryptococcus, Candida, Histoplasma, and Coccidioides, but make no mention of Aspergillus, which suggests the current situation is extremely rare. PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=fungal%20meningitis%20Aspergillus%20fumigatus) lists 38 published medical articles related to A. fumigatus meningitis. Interestingly several of the articled discuss cases on meningitis linked to steroid injections for back pain, but they were not in the United States.
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