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Well health officials now warning people about an outbreak of a rare and deadly form of meningitis they say it's already killed five people and sickened dozens around the country.
The cases are linked to steroid injections used for back pain.
Jonathan -- is live for us in Atlanta which is home to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and and Jonathan -- one wonders how widespread.
Yeah well the latest numbers came out of those five depth that you mentioned they occurred in three states take a look at the first map I wanna show you three of the deaths involved patients in Tennessee won in Virginia and one in Maryland but a total of 35.
Have been reported in six states and public health officials expect there will be more a total of 23 states.
Receive shipments of an epidural injectable back.
Pain medication that the CDC believes may have been contaminated with a fungus causing meningitis.
That medication is -- -- -- -- alone acetate.
Processed by New England compounding center in Framingham Massachusetts Trace.
Yeah and Jonathan what should people do -- they think they may have received this steroid for back -- Well this would involve patients who receive these particular -- millions of the back pain medication.
Dating back to July if the -- are one of those patients and you developed.
A fever -- show worsening headaches or more serious neurological symptoms like trouble walking you should call your doctor to perform tasks patients who test positive.
For this type of magic meningitis may be admitted to the hospital.
For intravenous anti fungal medication.
It is important though to point out that this particular form of meningitis.
It's highly rare and it's not transmissible.
From patient to patient experts believe that all of these cases in this particular outbreak.
Can be traced.
To this apparently.
Coming out of that New England compounding center the FDA is investigating.
How the fungus apparently got into that medication in the first place Trace.
Jonathan Serrie live for us.
In Atlanta Jonathan thank you let's bring in doctor William Shatner he joins us now he chairs the department.
A preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University we should also mention that most cases have appeared so far in Tennessee doctor.
Good to see you Jonathan was mentioning 23 states got this medication some 900 people got the treatment.
36 cases so far how why do you think this will spread.
Well Trace Jonathan Scott at right.
This is case slow working kind of infection.
It has a long incubation period we're all just now becoming aware of it.
And so I expect that we will see more cases over the next several weeks in the various states to which this tainted medication was distributed.
And how we treat this I mean you know won't -- incubation period in this doctors 228 days so we could be seeing cases present.
I mean weeks in the future the question is are we didn't get any better between now.
And -- and more cases star presenting on effective ways to treat this.
Well we have anti fungal medications that are used for therapy infectious disease doctors know how to do it it's tricky because they have.
Serious side effects.
But the treatment is available.
It can be given intravenously and may have to be given over a period of weeks perhaps even months.
You know they have shut down this pharmacy in Massachusetts that was kind of be the origin of these steroids there were mixed together was kind of a surprise to me doctor.
That the farmers is actually got a mixing this up and sending it out all over the country is this common practice.
Well there are compounding pharmacies.
That take medications from the large pharmaceutical manufacturers.
And then tailor them for specific clinical uses and that's what this compounding pharmacy did.
There -- -- -- manufacturing plant.
But they are remote from the rigorous oversight of the food and drug administration.
And that's a problem.
Andy and as far as treatment goes I know that they're the experts are saying that the people who have this right now some are actually in good condition and some are in grave condition.
Is -- one of those things where if your immune system is compromised you fare worse than if you are younger and stronger you fare better or does that not play in the us.
Well that's always the case.
Most of these people have not had serious underlying immune deficiencies some of them are older summer of some of them have other underlying illnesses.
That could contribute to worse prognosis but in and of itself this is a nasty infection.
Now it is indeed doctor William Shatner Vanderbilt University doctor thank you sir.
Good to be with -- interest.
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