The Fungal Meningitis Outbreak continues to expand. The most recent case was reported in New York yesterday. The CDC reports that there have been 268 cases of fungal meningitis, stroke due to presumed fungal meningitis, or other central nervous system- related infections meeting the outbreak case definition, plus 3 peripheral joint infections (e.g., knee, hip, shoulder, elbow). No deaths have been associated with peripheral joint infections.
The CDC also identified the fungus Exserohilum rostratum in clinical specimens from multiple patients with fungal meningitis and other spinal infections (e.g., epidural abscess). The CDC and FDA continue to investigate the possibility of contamination with additional organisms. At this time, one clinical specimen has tested positive for the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus and another has tested positive for the fungus Cladosporium.
The species detected are not typically associated with fungal meningitis. Aspergillus fumigatus and Cladosporium species are molds often associated with water intrusion and poor indoor air quality in the built environment. However, Exserohilum rostratum is most commonly noted as a plant pathogen and causes a variety of leaf spot diseases. Often referred to as Helminthosporim leaf spot, such diseases include corn leaf blights, blight of rice, crown and root rot of corn and various grass species. It also causes disease in foliage plants that are used to enhance indoor aesthetics in offices and businesses. Data has not been release on the environmental conditions inside the compounding facility where the injections were made.