U.S. meningitis cases rise to 64

Update
Fungal meningitis causes more deaths in U.S.
New Jersey 10th state to report an illness
Oct 10, 2012

CDC: Multistate Meningitis Outbreak Investigation

The number of Americans sickened by a deadly meningitis outbreak has now reached 119 cases, including 11 deaths.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the count on Tuesday.

New Jersey is the 10th state to report at least one illness. The other states involved in the outbreak are Tennessee, Michigan, Virginia, Indiana, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina and Ohio.

Officials have tied the outbreak of rare fungal meningitis to steroid shots for back pain. The steroid was made by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. At least one contaminated vial was found at the company.

The company recalled the steroid that was sent to clinics in 23 states, and later recalled everything it makes. Source

Seven die from outbreak after getting back pain shots

Oct 6, 2012

External Links

CDC: Multistate Meningitis Outbreak Investigation

U.S. health officials say the death toll in a rare fungal meningitis outbreak across several states has risen to seven as the outbreak has spread to more than 60 people.

In updated figures posted to its website Saturday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the outbreak has is now in nine states. The latest cases have been confirmed in Minnesota and Ohio. And, the number deaths has gone up from five to seven.

Health officials have been busy identifying the medical clinics across the country that received steroid shots for back pain now linked to the illnesses.

Authorities took the step to help identify everyone who may have gotten sick — or may still get sick — in the outbreak.

“All patients who may have received these medications need to be tracked down immediately,” said Dr. Benjamin Park of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It is possible that if patients with infection are identified soon and put on appropriate antifungal therapy, lives may be saved,” he said in a statement.

The CDC said the number of cases of the rare fungal meningitis reached 64 cases as of Saturday afternoon. According to the CDC’s website, the number of infections and deaths according to state is as follows:

  • Florida: 4 cases
  • Indiana: 5 cases
  • Maryland: 3 cases, including 1 death
  • Michigan: 8 cases, including 2 deaths
  • Minnesota: 1 case
  • North Carolina: 2 cases
  • Ohio: 1 case
  • Tennessee: 29 cases, including 3 deaths
  • Virginia: 11 cases, including 1 death

Investigators have focused on a fungal meningitis made by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. All the outbreak patients had gotten shots of the steroid for back pain, a common treatment, and inspectors found at least one sealed vial contaminated with fungus.

On Friday, officials said they have found fungal infections in nine sick patients. They weren’t able to identify what types of fungus in every one of those patients, but did distinguish at least two types — Aspergillus and Exserohilum.

The first known case in the meningitis outbreak was diagnosed about two weeks ago in Tennessee, and the steroid was recalled last week by the pharmacy, New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass.

Steriod used in 75 facilities in 23 states

About 17,700 single-dose vials of the steroid were covered in the recall. On Friday, the government released the names of about 75 facilities in 23 states that got recalled doses between July and September.

It’s not clear how many were sent to clinics, how many were used, or even whether everyone who got one will get sick. Once infected, it can take as long as a month for symptoms to appear.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include severe headache, nausea, dizziness and fever.

At the prompting of government officials, clinics are notifying all the patients who got shots from the recalled lots.

“There’s a massive effort to contact all the patients,” said Marsha Thiel, the chief executive officer of MAPS, a company that owns surgery center clinics in Minnesota.

She added, “If there’s any question at all, they’re being directed to go to their physician.”

As a precaution, the Food and Drug Administration urged doctors not to use any of the company’s products, and released a list Friday that included other steroids, anesthetics and a blood pressure medicine. The company, which is now closed, said in a statement Thursday that despite the FDA warning, “there is no indication of any potential issues with other products.”

The steroid is known as preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate, which the compounding pharmacy creates by combining a powder with a liquid.

There are FDA-approved versions of the drug, sold by the brand name Depo-Medrol, in good supply. So patients who need the medicine should not encounter a shortage, the FDA said Friday.

Most of the anxiety now involves patients who got steroid shots for back pain and are worried about becoming seriously ill.

“Our phone is ringing off the hook this morning. Patients are calling. Of course, they’re concerned,” said Paulette Fry, practice manager at Wellspring Pain Solutions in Columbus, Ind., about 40 miles south of Indianapolis. She said the clinic was sending out letters to about 300 patients who received spinal injections with the drug.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include severe headache, nausea, dizziness and fever.

Fungal meningitis is not contagious like the more common forms. The types of fungus linked to the outbreak are all around, but very rarely causes illness. Fungal meningitis is treated with high-dose antifungal medications, usually given intravenously in a hospital. Source

Federal Judge: FDA Must Act to Stem Antibiotics Overuse in Animal Feed


Public Health Victory: FDA Must Act to Stem Antibiotics Overuse in Animal Feed

NRDC: “The rise of superbugs that we see now was predicted by FDA in the 70’s”

By  Common Dreams staff
March 23, 2012

Yesterday a federal judge in New York ordered the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to act on the growing human health threats caused by the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed.

The FDA had started proceedings in 1977 over concerns that antibiotics, including commonly used tetracyclines and penicillin, could promote antibiotic-resistant bacteria capable of infecting people, but the proceedings were never completed, leaving the use of the antibiotics appoved.

If the makers of the drugs can’t provide evidence that their use is safe, the FDA must withdraw their approval, U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz ruled yesterday.

Roughly 70% of all U.S. antibiotics are used for livestock.

The decision results from a lawsuit filed last year by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT), Public Citizen, and the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Margaret Mellon, senior scientist with UCS’s Food & Environment Program, stated, “This ruling is an important victory for public health.”

“The rise of superbugs that we see now was predicted by FDA in the 70’s,” said NRDC attorney Jen Sorenson. “Thanks to the Court’s order, drug manufacturers will finally have to do what FDA should have made them do 35 years ago: prove that their drugs are safe for human health, or take them off the market.”

* * *

Union of Concerned Scientists: Judge Rules FDA Must Act to Protect Americans from Overuse of Antibiotics in Livestock
Statement by Margaret Mellon, senior scientist with UCS’s Food & Environment Program:

“This ruling is an important victory for public health. The FDA has known since the 1970s that the routine use of powerful antibiotics in livestock leads to the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which cause infections that are more difficult to treat in both people and animals.

“For the past 35 years, while advocates and citizens alike have been urging FDA to take action, the problem has steadily worsened and FDA has sat on its hands, which begs the question of whose interests the agency is protecting.

“This ruling changes the landscape at FDA, making it clear that the agency has a statutory obligation to use its legal authority to cancel the approvals for uses of veterinary drugs the agency has found to be unsafe. The ruling calls into question policies that rely on companies to voluntarily withdraw label claims.

“The glacial pace of the FDA response on animal antibiotics is unacceptable. The agency needs to curb the unnecessary uses of vital antibiotics in animal agriculture. Peoples’ lives depend on it.”

* * *

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC): Court Orders FDA to Address Antibiotic Overuse in Livestock and Protect Effectiveness of Medicine for Humans

NEW YORK – March 23 – The Food and Drug Administration must act to address the growing human health threats resulting from the overuse of antibiotics in animal feed, according to a federal court ruling issued last night. The decision stems from a lawsuit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Food Animal Concerns Trust (FACT), Public Citizen, and Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) last year.

“For over 35 years ago, FDA has sat idly on the sidelines largely letting the livestock industry police itself,” said Avinash Kar, NRDC health attorney. “In that time, the overuse of antibiotics in healthy animals has skyrocketed – contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that endanger human health. Today, we take a long overdue step toward ensuring that we preserve these life-saving medicines for those who need them most – people.

“These drugs are intended to cure disease, not fatten pigs and chickens,” Kar said.

* * *

In February, David Wallinga, M.D., of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy gave a TEDX talk “Raising Pigs & Problems: Saying No to Antibiotics in Animal Feed.”
Physician, writer and full-time advocate, David Wallinga, M.D., represents the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) as a de facto doctor to the nation’s ailing food system. Through his work, Dr. Wallinga sheds a spotlight- and a public health lens- on the less savory side of the food system, like mercury in high fructose corn syrup, or arsenic being fed to chickens and turkeys. His 2010 essay on farm policy and the obesity epidemic in Health Affairs helped launch unprecedented interest in the health of the 2012 Farm Bill; subsequently, dozens of the nation’s medical and public luminaries have signed onto IATP’s Charter for a Healthy Farm Bill . Dr. Wallinga has also served as the only physician on the steering committee of Keep Antibiotics Working : The Campaign to End Antibiotic Overuse since 2000.  Source


More information at http://www.tedxmanhattan.org

Factory Farming is the cause, for the use of Antibiotics.

There a number of videos on Factory Farming in the link  below. One should see how animals are treated. Not a pretty sight. Very cruel.

McDonald’s drops U.S. egg supplier over ‘disturbing’ animal-cruelty video

This also happens to the animals. Be sure to check it out.

Side affects of Antibiotics in Humans

Antibiotics also kill all bacteria, even the Frendly Bacterisa

This of course would also happen to all animals fed Antibiotics in their food.

Antibiotics, one of the wonder drugs of the 20th century, have helped overcome many diseases that previously may have resulted in death or disablement. However, we now know that antibiotics have limitations and their use and misuse has frequently led to ill health. There are a number of bacteria that have developed partial or total resistance to some antibiotics. Furthermore, broad-spectrum antibiotics don’t distinguish between “bad” and “good” bacteria. They kill the probiotics along with the bad bacteria and this may be one of the worst side effects of using antibiotics. The pathogenic bacteria will invade the digestive tract and multiplies in high numbers. This disturbs the delicate balance between the good, beneficial probiotics and bad bacteria.

Probiotics not only collectively provide profound health benefits, such as vastly improved digestion and nutrient absorption, but probiotics also provide superior protection against the invasion of foreign pathogens and other infectious agents.

  • improve digestion and nutrient absorption.
  • dramatically improve human immune function.
  • protect against invasion of foreign pathogens and other infectious agents and enhance the immune system’s ability to fight infections;
  • provide a main source of Vitamin K;
  • lower cholesterol by metabolizing it;
  • control bowel toxicity and decrease the risk of bowel cancer; and
  • reduce gas production by non-disease-producing microorganisms.
  • protect the body from the potentially devastating effects of accumulated toxins and carcinogenic substances.
  • produce short chain fatty adds that are converted into energy.
  • help protect against unhealthy cholesterol buildup that could lead to cardiovascular disease and even death.

There are negative effects resulting from loss of probiotics:

  • Loss of probiotics lead to the overgrowth of detrimental, disease-causing bacteria & yeasts e.g. Candida albicans, Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, Clostridium dificile, Yersinia enterocolitica, etc
  • Loss of probiotics contribute to digestive problems such as leaky gut syndrome, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, crohn’s disease, diverticulitis etc
  • Loss of probiotics allow specific detrimental bacteria to thrive that have been proven to cause severe health problems. E.g. E. Coli may lead to problems with insulin and blood sugar function. Yersinia enterocolitica, a pathogenic bacterium, produces substances that cause the over-production of the thyroid hormone. This detrimental bacterium, reportedly, contributes to autoimmune diseases.
  • Loss Of probiotics lead to the production of endotoxins in the digestive tract, which contributes to conditions like lupus erythematosus, pancreatitis, psoriasis and other skin conditions
  • Loss of probiotics allow entry of partially digested proteins to the bloodstream contributing to eczema, nervous system disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, and many other immune system disorders  Source

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