Friday, October 12, 2012

Meningitis Outbreak Points to Need for Anti Fungals

Most of the discussion of infection treatment centers around anti-bacterials, particularly the common 'antibiotics' prescribed for a number of infections.  Fungal infections get less attention, but can be just as dangerous.  The destruction of bacteria through antibiotic use may actually have increased the fungal infection incidence, as Kalorama discusses in its anti-infective report.  
A recent outbreak may enlarge the perception of these type of infections and treatments.  There have recently been news reports that patients may have received contaminated steroid injections from the New England Compounding Center for treatments in their ankles, knees and other joints, and may present signs of infection.
Officials had previously said most of those at risk received epidural steroid injections to relieve back pain.   The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it was alerted to one case of a person who may have developed a fungal infection after receiving a steroid injection in his or her ankle. The case hasn't been confirmed to be caused by a fungus,but the person received the same steroid injection as the confirmed fungal meningitis cases and is showing symptoms consistent with a fungal infection. According to CBS News:
The CDC said there are 170 reported infections tied to an 11-state meningitis outbreak, including 14 people who died.In total, up to 14,000 people may have received the contaminated injections, said health officials; previous estimates suggested that number was closer to 13,000 patients. The CDC reported it has successfully tracked down nearly 12,000 of these patients -- about 90 percent -- to inform them of their risk.

There are a number of treatments for fungal infections.  Our report on Antiinfective Markets  details the  products, revenues and companies involved in treatment of infections including fungal diseases.