Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Could Continue

By Katie Colaneri, WBGO News
October 12, 2012

Listen to Report

Article image
NJ Transit Bus Driver Scott Flyer says he's never felt unsafe on his route, but appreciates the company's efforts.

14 people have died from an outbreak of fungal meningitis. As the number of cases continues to rise, it could be a few more weeks until we know the full impact of the outbreak.

Officials say as many as 14,000 people got the tainted steroid shots between May 21st and September 26th.

Epidemiologist Dr. Rajendra Kapila says those dates are important in figuring out how many more cases of fungal meningitis there will be.

“Now if you take somebody who’s received it on the 26th of September, then it may take up to a month, and that is October 26th and even beyond that the disease may be incubating.”

These kinds of fungi don’t normally cause harm, but because they were injected right into people’s spines, Dr. Kapila says there could be other complications.

“This fungus has a tendency to invade blood vessels because that’s where the nutrition is. So it not only causes meningitis, but somebody who has had an injection from this company in the spinal cord, it may manifest itself as a stroke.”

He says these fungi often resist medication. 

Julian Encarnacion contributed to this report.


Get the Rundown from WBGO News

A weekly email from WBGO News with a preview of what's coming up and a taste of what you might have missed.