Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Meningitis... Not All Is Created Equal

I'm temporarily switching my Diva hat for my Nurse's hat.

By now I'm sure the majority of you have heard about the Fungal Meningitis outbreak spreading across the USA. This week I cared for a healthy young adult male who somehow contracted Viral Meningitis. During my time as a pediatric nurse I cared for several children who had contracted Bacterial Meningitis.

Meningitis is inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, known as the meninges. The most common symptoms of meningitis are headache, neck stiffness, fever, confusion, vomiting, and an inability to tolerate light or loud noises. Unfortunately, children exhibit nonspecific signs and symptoms when infected such as irritability, drowsiness, and a rash. A lumbar puncture is used to diagnosis meningitis.
The signs and symptoms of the varieties of meningitis may be the same but, all is NOT created equal. Viral meningitis is caused by a virus. There is no specific treatment for viral meningitis, and it will typically resolve on its own in about a week. Some cases of viral meningitis do require some medical treatment, such as steroids.

Bacterial meningitis is the most common type of meningitis in children. This type of meningitis is highly contagious, and is the cause of outbreaks of meningitis among college campuses and schools. Bacterial meningitis is dangerous. If it goes untreated it can lead to serious complications such as seizures, blindness, deafness, permanent neurological damage, learning disabilities, brain damage, paralysis or even death.

Fungal meningitis is not contagious and is relatively rare. Fungal meningitis is the result of the spread of a fungus through blood to the spinal cord. According to the FDA the multistate fungal meningitis outbreak is due to patients receiving contaminated steroid injections into the spinal area. If left untreated fungal meningitis has the same prognosis as bacterial meningitis. According to the CDC due to the contaminated steroids, as of October 17, 247 people have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis and 19 of the 247 have died.

As of November 5, 2012 According to the CDC
Status: Ongoing Investigation
      Deaths: 30
For information about the outbreak go to


  1. My husband is Active Duty Army and sustained a spinal injury while on a combat mission in Afghanistan. He was sent to a Neurosurgeon in Nashville and was started out with the Epidural Steroid injections to try and eliviate some pain before deciding to have surgery. He had 2 injections during the "infected steroid time frame" and had flu like symtoms within a few weeks of the procedures and had surgery in mid August. We reported the flu like symptoms and explained how they would come on suddenly. We were not notified of the possibly meningitis infection by the clinic or hospital ..we saw it on the news..! I called the clinic and gave his information and was told "By law we can not disclose any information to you.. only advise you to take your husband to the ER in Nashville immediatly..! So now 4 months. .6 lumbar punctures and 40+ Hospital visits later husband is so sick and unable to sit or stand longer than 10 minutes without blacking out and vomiting from pain. He is being med boarded out of the Army and we are in debt due to all of the travel back and forth 150 miles round trip from Fort Campbell to Nashville. We have no financial security or means of supporting our family due to him requiring 24 hour care from me. He is now experiencing a very painful rash/infection on his face and scalp that is causing his hair to fall out. I can not get any of the Dr.s to diagnose him with any exact illness or come up with a treatment option other than her is pain meds and stay in bed..! Has anyone else experienced what we are and have any answers..? Any help is appreciated and i can be reached by email at raeraehunter@yahoo com

  2. So sorry to hear of your troubles but let me be blunt... GET A LAWYER! Get a lawyer who specializes in medical malpractice. I'm sure due to the outbreak there are some out there who are representing the people who have been affected. Get a spinal tap and a set of blood cultures. I'm sure he's already had them done but it wouldn't hurt to repeat them since his condition has worsened. Get a Fungal Blood Test aka Fungal Smear aka AFB Smear and a Fungal Antigen Antibody Test (very important!). Get a copy of all of his lab test and other diagnostic test to see what has already been done. If a Fungal Blood Test and Fungal Antigen Antibody Test have not been done, get it done ASAP. Hope this helps. Good Luck.

    MJ Louis, RN

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  4. Hi Maryse,
    Nice text, conglatulations!
    I woud like to know where did you take the picture used in this text. Thank you.