University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute
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Meningitis Linked to Epidural Steroid Injections in the News

Recently there has been an outbreak of fungal meningitis in patients receiving epidural steroid injections for pain. Meningitis is a disease caused by an infection of the tissues covering the brain and spinal cord and the surrounding spinal fluid.

The steroid medication that was used in the recently reported cases was somehow contaminated by a common leaf mold, Aspergillus, at the factory where the drug is made. We understand that our patients may be concerned. While there is a risk of infection with any procedure, be assured that Kernan Hospital DOES NOT purchase steroid medications from the company involved in these cases. Patients who have had epidural steroid injections or have future appointments scheduled at the Pain Management Center are not at risk from this contamination.

Meningitis may mimic flu like symptoms and include: headache, blurred vision, confusion, tiredness, stiff neck, irritability, vomiting and fever. Anyone with any of these symptoms should see their physician or go to the emergency room. This type of meningitis is not contagious.

If you have any questions or concerns about an upcoming scheduled procedure, or one that you may have already had, please call the Pain Management Center at 410-448-6824 and ask to speak with one of our physicians or nurses. If you wish to make an appointment and meet personally with your pain medicine physician, we would be happy to accommodate your request. The important thing is to make sure your pain continues to be adequately treated with or without the use of epidural steroid injections. Please let us help you through this understandably stressful time.

For more information, please call the Centers for Disease Control at 1-800-232-4636 or visit its Web site.