Fungal meningitis is a very rare and serious disease that requires immediate medical attention. It is possible that you haven’t heard of fungal meningitis, but due to a recent outbreak of the disease in the United States, everyone should take the time to know the facts about fungal meningitis. Anyone can contract fungal meningitis, though it is more prevalent among those with compromised immune systems. It is not spread through person-to-person contact and can only be transmitted when the infected fungal spores are inhaled, injected or otherwise entered into the body.
Fungal meningitis attacks the body when a fungus is introduced into the bloodstream and enters into the central nervous system. The fungus spreads through the body. There are different types of fungal meningitis that attack the body in different ways. Types of fungal meningitis include:
Signs and symptoms of fungal meningitis can differ from person to person. The Meningitis Foundation of America recommends that any person displaying any symptoms of fungal meningitis seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms of fungal meningitis are:
Infected fungal spores entering the body and attacking the central nervous system cause fungal meningitis. Fungal meningitis is the result of an infection from fungus that spreads to and invades the spinal cord. The various types of fungal meningitis are transmitted in different ways.
In recent months there has been an outbreak of fungal meningitis in approximately 23 states. This outbreak is thought to be the result of the contamination of a steroid injection.
Fungal meningitis is a rare disease. However, it is a serious medical condition that can lead to death. Certain factors may increase your chances of contracting fungal meningitis. These risk factors include:
When an individual is suspected of suffering from meningitis of any kind, a lumbar puncture will be performed and a collection of fluid will be taken from the person’s spinal column. The specimen is then brought to a laboratory where any fungal infections will be identified. If fungal meningitis is concluded, the type of fungus that caused the illness will be identified.
If you have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis, your treatment will likely be performed in the hospital. A powerful dose of intravenous antifungal medications will be given. Treatment length is dependent on different factors such as:
There is currently no vaccine to prevent fungal meningitis. To safeguard yourself against possible contamination, especially if you have a compromised immune system, it may be helpful to avoid the following:
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have announced an outbreak of fungal meningitis. The spread of the meningitis has been linked to steroid injections that patients have received; these injections have been due to:
Doctors and patients who may have been exposed to the contaminated steroid injections should be aware and look out for any symptoms. Symptoms may take time to progress; it may take between 1 to 4 weeks after exposure for symptoms to appear. The particular strain of meningitis linked to this outbreak is due to a fungus not typically known to cause meningitis. If you have had an injection of steroids after May 2012 believed to be linked to this outbreak and have any new or worsening symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.
Fungal meningitis is not a common illness; however, with the current outbreak reaching 23 of the 50 United States and growing, it is important to know the risks and symptoms. Fungal meningitis occurs when the membranes surrounding the spinal cord and brain become infected with fungus. Even with treatment, it is possible for fungal meningitis to cause severe complication s and even death.