In recognition of International Infection Prevention Week Springer Publishing Company is doing our part to raise awareness.

As of October 17th, 247 cases of a rare form of fungal meningitis has spread across 15 states and resulted in 19 deaths (according to the current investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

The CDC investigation has traced the outbreak to the New England Compounding Center, a Massachusetts pharmaceutical company. The fungal meningitis has been linked to an epidural steroid injection to relieve back and joint pain, a medication that has been recalled from 75 hospitals in 15 states. This has officials worried that the number of cases could increase over the coming weeks.

If you live in one of the listed states, have received an epidermal steroid, and display the following symptoms, you should contact your doctor immediately:

  • High temperature
  • Severe, persistent headaches
  • Neck stiffness
  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Drowsiness
  • Muscle and joint pain

The CDC notes that these "flu-like" symptoms manifest between 1 and 4 weeks of infection, and as such, those at risk should monitor their health, and not hesitate to seek treatment.

In fact, outbreaks of infectious disease within the purview of healthcare services are one of the nation's deadliest killers.1.7 million people per year contract healthcare associated infection, and 98,987 of those cases are fatal. This, surprisingly, makes healthcare associated infections one of the more significant health issues in the United States. As the statistics show, HAIs are deadlier than diabetes, heart failure, breast cancer, and prostate cancer.

The question raised now is: What can we do to prevent an outbreak like this in the future? Which in turn, begs another question: What kinds of regulations need to be put in place or better enforced to ensure our safety when we receive healthcare services?

Join the discussion below!