Between December 3 and December 18, the CDC received 80 new case reports, most of which were these localized infections.
These infections include –
• Epidural Abscess – is an infection that occurs between the bones of the spine (or brain) and the membranes that cover the spine (or brain). Patients may experience fever, back pain, bladder or bowel incontinence, or urinary retention. They may also have difficulty moving, experience weakness, or lose feeling in some part of the body (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002389/)
• Phlegmon – inflammation caused by infection that spreads between muscles and tissue (http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/phlegmon)
• Arachnoiditis – inflammation of the membranes that covers the spinal cord, caused by infection. Can cause numbness, stinging and burning in legs and back, muscle spasms and twitches, bowel and bladder, and sexual issues (http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/arachnoiditis/arachnoiditis.htm)
• Discitis – inflammation of the one or more of the discs of the spine which can cause severe pain, fever, headaches, and general illness or malaise (http://www.axappphealthcare.co.uk/personal/medical-health-centres/fact-sheet/discitis)
• Vertebral Osteomyelitis – infection in the spine that can cause pain, fever, weight loss, and epidural abscess (http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/back-pain/osteomyelitis-symptoms)
The CDC says the infections are occurring in patients who were infected with fungal meningitis, but also in patients who received the tainted injections but did not develop meningitis. 187 patients in Michigan alone have developed paraspinal/spinal infection with and without evidence of fungal meningitis. Across the country, 257 patients have developed para/spinal infection alone, while another 115 developed para/spinal infection and meningitis.
The CDC, with the FDA, has posted clinical guidelines that direct clinicians to “remain vigilant for onset of symptoms because fungal infection can be slow to develop.” If you or someone you love has received the tainted steroid injections, you are urged to see your physician if you experience new, worsening, or persistent symptoms near or at the injection site. Many of the spinal/paraspinal cases were identified though MRI testing. Unfortunately, these infections can cause serious and debilitating pain, as well as permanent damage if left untreated.