Virginia researchers report on condition of pharmacy victims

Physicians at a Virginia hospital recently said that there is growing evidence that the organism behind an outbreak of fungal meningitis is invasive and places patients at risk for a stroke.

Doctors at a Virginia hospital examined 172 people who received contaminated steroid injections from a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts. Their work has provided a critical glimpse into the patients' clinical courses, according to CIDRAP News.

Most of the 673 Virginia patients who received the methylprednisolone acetate steroid injections were screened at two of the state's hospitals. Researchers from one of the facilities collected a series of observations for publication in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

The work has added to an ever-growing body of knowledge about the infection's clinical course that began when Tennessee clinicians reported their findings to the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers said that recovery has been relatively slow for all patients, but also varies widely. The most common complaint has been extreme fatigue.

"Many patients have improved to the point that their major complaint has become one of boredom as wary clinicians waited for better CSF [cerebrospinal fluid] parameters," the group wrote, CIDRAP News reports. "However, others remain very symptomatic, primarily with arachnoiditis and urinary retention, and three have had strokes."