Fungal infections related to tainted steroid injections continue

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Cases of fungal infections are still being discovered across the country from a batch of contaminated steroid injections that were produced at a Massachusetts compounding facility last May.

Eight people in Indiana have died as a result of receiving them.

And a Michigan representative has launched an investigation into how this tragedy occurred..

On Tuesday, Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) asked the Food and Drug Administration why it took so long to provide documents requested for the investigation.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee started looking into things six months ago, but the FDA didn't provide documents until last month.

Three people in Elkhart have died as a result of receiving bad injections.

About seven months ago, Terry Trost went to her doctor to get a steroid injection for pain related to a tailbone injury. Instead of the pain going away, it got worse after her injection. Over the next few months she gradually started feeling sicker and sicker.

“I did deteriorate having more neckaches, more backaches…,” said Trost of the time period following her second MRI. In December, she began showing symptoms similar to that of a stroke. “[I had] slurred words and memory issues.”

Trost’s daughter, a nursing student, knew something was wrong.

“Something was off; I just couldn't put my finger on it,” said Nicole Kovach. “She kept saying she was depressed, but I knew there was something more to it.”

Both mother and daughter had received steroid injections in September 2012 for pain.

Kovach came down with a bacterial infection, but her mother had contracted a fungal infection.

Fortunately, Trost’s doctor suspected the source of Trost’s illness was tainted steroid injections, despite the fact that there was no evidence of fungal infection on the results of the first MRI. Trost’s doctor knew her injection in September had come from the batch that produced 14,000 contaminated injections last May, and his office had contacted her to let her know even before she began to experience symptoms.
Dozens of Elkhart County residents were infected, and three died.
"nafziger: We’ve had 47 cases of infections in Elkhart County residents. It’s a sizeable number. We don’t typically have outbreaks related to contaminated products that are this large,” said Dr. Daniel Nafziger, health officer for Elkhart County.

The latest case of fungal infection that resulted from the contaminated injections was diagnosed March 27.
Nafziger said he feels most people who have been infected already have been contacted by their doctors and does not believe there is anyone infected who has not yet been informed. He said because new cases are still being discovered nationally, however, people should not have the misconception that the danger is no longer there.

“We actually don’t know the longest incubation period for this infection, so people need to still be vigilant,” said Nafziger.