So what makes this so dangerous? Meningitis is an infection of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. In these cases, infected PFMA was injected directly into the spinal cord and was able to travel up to the brain. If the people getting the injection had weakened immune systems due to illness, or antibiotic use, their bodies may not be able to fight off the fungal infection, causing swelling in and around the brain. So far, at least 14 people have died and many more are very ill. Several have even had strokes as a result of the meningitis. One compounding factor is that steroids by their nature decrease your immune system’s ability to fight off infection. So people are directly exposed to a fungus and an immune suppressant all at the same time.
What are the symptoms? Many people experience fever, headache, nausea and vomiting and think they have the flu. But, other symptoms include stiff neck, sensitivity to light (and possibly sound) and altered mental state. The only way to definitively diagnose meningitis is with a spinal tap. That’s where the doctor takes a sample of the cerebrospinal fluid from around the spinal cord and has it tested.
How is it treated? Most cases are treated with multiple, long courses of antifungal medications given intravenously in a hospital. How many courses a person requires depends on their immune system health and the type of fungus causing the infection.
Is there a way to prevent fungal meningitis? Yes and no. Fungal Meningitis is not typically caused by any particular activity, but by being around an airborn fungus and having a weakened or altered immune system. In this “outbreak” the only way to have prevented exposure was not to get the injection.
Is there another way to deal with back pain without an injection? Absolutely! Some people find relief through over the counter or prescription medication, although, those come with their own side effects. Others use Acupuncture or natural remedies to treat the symptoms. Many cases of back pain are caused by the vertebrae in the low back or hips being out of alignment, or by muscle spasms in the low back. These are conditions that can be treated by a licensed Chiropractor and a Certified Massage Therapist. Chiropractic and Massage Therapy are non-invasive techniques to relax the muscles and re-align the spine.