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Fungal Meningitis Patients Face Long Recovery

Filed January 3rd, 2013 admin

Patients who were victims of the fungal meningitis outbreak stemming from steroid injections produced by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) are finding that the road to recovery is a long one.

Since the outbreak was first reported, 620 people have been infected and 39 have died in 19 states. No one has been cured, WebMD said. “As far as we know, no one has been taken off medicines, and we wouldn’t recommend that now; it’s still too early,” Tom M. Chiller, MD, MPH, deputy chief of the Mycotic Diseases Branch at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta told WebMD. Many hope they are on the road to recovery, but no one can tell them when it will end. Experts say they’ve never seen these kinds of fungal infections, much less this many cases.

“It’s very difficult for the doctors and the patients because we can’t say, ‘Well, just two more weeks of this and it will be over.’ What we’re saying is that we’re going to keep treating you. We’re going to keep caring for you, and when the experts tell us we can stop, we’re going to do that,” William Schaffner, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, told WebMD.

Even more concerning is that doctors continue to find new infections associated with the outbreak. Based on previous experience, doctors had surmised that they would see new cases of fungal infections popping up for up to four months after patients received their tainted meds. That would mean that people who had been exposed in the September outbreak could be in the clear by late January, but that timeline is now shifting as there is no end in sight, WebMD said.

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