Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Evolution of an outbreak: complications from contaminated steroid injections

A study of the patients who received injections of steroids contaminated with the fungus Exserohilum rostratum from the New England Compounding Center has found that some patients had fungal infections even though they did not experience a worsening of their symptoms and that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can help detect infection, especially among those individuals who received injections from highly contaminated lots.

The study, along with an editorial by UC Davis Assistant Professor of Medical Microbiology and Immunology George R. Thompson, appears in the June 19 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“The study shows that patients exposed to the contaminated steroids can no longer be reassured that the lack of new or progressive symptoms equates to a lack of fungal infection,” Thompson said. “Exposed patients may have paraspinal or spinal infections even though they do not notice any increase in pain or neuropathic symptoms. Magnetic resonance imaging at the injection site is recommended to screen for infection in high-risk patients, but it should not be widely adopted, particularly for patients who received injections in peripheral joints, which the study associated with a much lower attack rate.”

In the fall of 2012, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with state and local health departments and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), began investigating an unprecedented multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis among patients who received contaminated steroid injections for the treatment of back pain or neuropathic symptoms. While meningitis was the primary complication after the initial steroid injection, spinal or paraspinal infections can surface weeks to months later. To date, more than 740 patients in 20 states have been diagnosed with meningitis, spinal or paraspinal infections, joint infections or other complications at or near the injection site linked with compouding pharmacy formulations. Patients who received injections in peripheral joints only, such as the knee, shoulder or ankle, could be at risk for joint infection and are also included in the investigation.

“Continued vigilance and collaborative efforts with radiologists experienced in interpreting MRI findings of E rostratum are needed to detect late fungal infections in patients to improve health outcomes,” Thompson said.

According to the CDC, Exserohilum is a common mold found in soil and on plants, especially grasses, and it thrives in warm and humid climates. While it is a very rare cause of infection in people, the mold has been known to cause several different types of infections, including infection in the skin or the cornea (the clear, front part of the eye), which are typically due to skin or eye trauma. Exserohilum can also cause more invasive forms of infection in the sinuses, lungs, lining of the heart and bone, which are thought to be more likely to occur in people with weak immune systems.

UC Davis Health System is improving lives and transforming health care by providing excellent patient care, conducting groundbreaking research, fostering innovative, interprofessional education, and creating dynamic, productive partnerships with the community. The academic health system includes one of the country's best medical schools, a 619-bed acute-care teaching hospital, a 1000-member physician's practice group and the new Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.

It is home to a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, an international neurodevelopmental institute, a stem cell institute and a comprehensive children's hospital. Other nationally prominent centers focus on advancing telemedicine, improving vascular care, eliminating health

disparities and translating research findings into new treatments for patients.

Together, they make UC Davis a hub of innovation that is transforming health for all. For more information, visit

Carole Gan | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>