Hide This

FREEHER HealthToolkit

HER Health Toolkit

Sign up for EmpowHER updates and you'll receive our
FREE HER Health Toolkit

Meningitis

Get Email Updates

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

Some Meningitis Cases Develop a Second Skin Infection

By Michele Blacksberg RN HERWriter
 
Rate This
Some Meningitis Cases Develop a Second Skin Infection 0 5
cases of meningitis have developed skin infection
PS Productions/Photospin

The recent meningitis outbreaks from contaminated injected steroids have made front page news. Now, some of those infected have developed a serious secondary skin infection.

Epidural abscesses have erupted at the site where the steroids were originally injected near the spine to treat back or neck pain. Despite patients having received potent antifungals to treat their meningitis, these new abscesses have forced patients to return to the hospital for more IV medication and possibly surgery.

An epidural abscess and meningitis are different infections. An abscess is a localized infection that becomes filled with pus. Meningitis is an inflammation of the membrane layers that cover the spinal cord and the brain.

According to Dr. Lakshmi K. Halasyamani, chief medical officer at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor Michigan, about one-third of the 53 patients they treated have returned with abscesses.

Some patients, 34 cases, who did not develop meningitis from the contaminated steroid injections have developed abscesses and are being treated at St. Joseph’s Mercy hospital. There are reports in Tennessee that a few of their patients have also developed abscesses.

The main symptom is severe pain near the injection site but the abscesses form inside the spinal area so are not apparent when examining the skin. An MRI is needed to make the diagnosis and some patients have been found to have more than one abscess.

The concern is that these patients could develop meningitis caused directly by the abscesses.

Treatment of the spinal abscesses is challenging. Draining an abscess or having it cleaned out by a neurosurgeon can resolve some of the cases. However in other cases “the fungal strands and abnormal tissue become wrapped around the spinal nerves and cannot be surgically removed”, reported Dr. Carol A. Kauffman, an expert on fungal diseases at University of Michigan.

Those cases are treated with combinations of antifungal drugs in the hopes that the infection can be halted. Doctors do not have much experience dealing with this type of complicated infection. Meningitis caused by fungus is very rare.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Improved

1709 Health

Changed

643 Lives

Saved

497 Lives
4 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

Do your teens have their own cellphones?:
View Results