Steroid injections may have been responsible for an alarming outbreak of meningitis in Tennessee over the last several weeks. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 14 cases. Two people are dead as a result with others in critical condition. It should be noted that the steroids involved were NOT anabolic steroids. This fact has not been explicitly stated in media accounts.
Given the demonization of anabolic steroids in society, many people may mistakenly believe the news story referred to the same performance-enhancing steroid injections used by athletes and bodybuilders. This is not the case.
To be fair, the recent outbreak of meningitis has nothing to do with the steroids themselves. The most likely explanation seems to indicate some type of contamination that may or may not be restricted to a local Nashville medical clinic.
The Tennessee Department of Health and the CDC are frantically trying to pinpoint the source of the meningitis outbreak. All confirmed cases were recipients of the same type of steroid injection. Thirteen of the patients received the steroid injections at the Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center in Nashville.
Nearly 900 patients were recipients of steroids from two clinics under investigation between July 30th and September 20, 2012. The manufacturer of the steroid injections have not been publicly revealed. But three lots of the steroid had been recalled by the manufacturer during this period.
It is unknown how many people may have been infected with meningitis since the onset of symptoms usually occurs one to four weeks after exposure. Health officials anticipate new cases of meningitis being identified within the next several days.
The Saint Thomas Clinic voluntarily suspended operations on September 20, 2012 pending the outcome of the investigation.
The risk of contamination is an issue for any injectable drug. The possibility of contamination by a legal compounding pharmacy administered by a qualified medical doctor should be of significant concern. The quality control procedures should prevent such dangerous contamination.
This is the type of contamination that one would expect to occur with anabolic steroids obtained on the black market that are manufacturer by unregulated underground laboratories (UGLs). Surprisingly, no such similar cases have been reported among users of black market androgens.
Associated Press. (October 3, 2012). Tenn. health officials probe meningitis outbreak involving people who got steroid injections. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/tenn-health-officials-probe-meningitis-outbreak-involving-people-who-got-steroid-injections/2012/10/02/fd626008-0cfb-11e2-ba6c-07bd866eb71a_print.html