Living Well

Fungal Meningitis Update

Last updated: Jan 22, 2013



The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
reports that 678 total cases of noncontagious fungal meningitis
have been diagnosed in 19 states.

A total of 46 cases of the noncontagious fungal meningitis 
cases have been reported to date in New Jersey.

There have been 44 deaths
among those infected
 noncontagious fungal meningitis
in the outbreak associated
with injectable medication
from the New England Compounding Center.

The next CDC update on fungal meningitis statistics
will be January 28, 2013.


The CDC suggests that the majority of the noncontagious fungal meningitis cases to date are in patients who received spinal injections*of the steroid methylprednisolone since May 21, 2012, to control back pain. Two of the cases have been reported in patients who received injections of a compound (cardioplegia solution) used during heart surgery.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials have identified the methylprednisolone and cardioplegia solution manufacturer as New England Compounding Center. The FDA is investigating the New England Compouding Center and its products to determine whether other medications might be contaminated. Because New England Compounding Center has voluntarily recalled all products made at its Framingham, Massachusetts, facility, no new exposure are likely.

Summit Medical Group HAS NOT used
the New England Compounding Center
as a source for methylprednisolone.

CDC Health Care Infection Prevention, Research, and Evaluation Director John Jernigan, MD, emphasizes that most of the estimated 13,000 people in 23 states who received steroid shots will not become infected. 

The CDC recommends that patients at risk and clinicians watch for symptoms because fungal infections can develop slowly. Of the cases reported, symptoms have appeared from 1 to 4 weeks after injection. But because everyone reacts differently, it can take more or less time for symptoms to appear. For this reason, patients and their doctors should watch for symptoms for at least several months after injection. 

If you have received a methyprednisolone injection on or after May 12, 2012,
feel ill, and are concerned about the origin of your injection,
please call your doctor.

If you would like answers to questions about noncontagious fungal meningitis,
please call Summit Medical Group Patient Relations
at 908-277-8928.

Symptoms of fungal meningitis can be mild or severe and include:

  • Fever
  • New or worsening headache
  • Neck stiffness
  • Light sensitivity
  • Slurred speech
  • New weakness or numbness, increasing pain, redness, or swelling of the injection site

Having some or all of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have fungal meningitis!

If you have received a methylprednisolone injection since May 2012,
call the provider from whom you got the injection
to confirm its manufacturer.


Read more about noncontagious fungal meningitis!

*Although all cases of noncontagious fungal meningitis have been in patients who received spinal injections of the methyprednisolone, patients who have had methylprednisolone injections in joints should be aware of symptoms such as swelling, increased pain, redness, and warmth at the injection site. See your doctor immediately if you have had a methylprednisolone joint injection and you are experiencing any new symptoms.