November 1st, 2012 12:39 EST
Meningitis Scare Causing Pain
Thus far, 257 people have been diagnosed with Meningitis following their receipt of contaminated spinal steroid injections, a treatment for back pain. Of these people, 20 have died.
More cases of the infection are expected as the scope of the outbreak continues to be determined...
Estimates are that nearly 14,000 people may have been exposed to meningitis through these contaminated injections. The majority of those at risk have been contacted by local health officials notifying them of their potential risk of infection. The Food and Drug Administration has warned people to be on the lookout for the signs and symptoms of potential infection, which include high fever, severe headaches, vomiting from headaches, confusion or difficulty concentrating, seizures, sleepiness or difficulty waking up. Light sensitivity, lack of interest in drinking or eating, and possible skin rash.
Viral meningitis can improve without treatment in a few days, but the fungal form, as is being found the cases in question currently, can come on very quickly and requires prompt antibiotic treatment in order to improve the chances of recovery without severe implications.
Dr. Emmanual Emenike, medical director of Alpha Pain in Palmdale CA says that the outbreak has caused even more problems. "People are canceling their pain management appointments in droves due to this recent outbreak that came as a result of problems with a compounding pharmacy, not the doctors themselves."
Dr. Emenike explains that "The need for caution among pain management patients is serious, but the issue needs to be brought up with the patient`s family physician and/or their pain management physician. We believe this will avoid any further alarm, help the patients from aggravating their current condition, and allow us as pain management experts better determine what alternatives our patients have."
Dr. Emmanuel Emenike completed a combined internal medicine and pediatric residency at the Bridgeport Hospital, Yale New Haven Health where he was also chief resident. Thereafter he became board certified in both internal medicine and pediatrics. He then worked as physician in chief at Stanford Community Health Center for a while before proceeding to Harvard Medical School for fellowship in pain management. Following completion of training he became board certified in Pain Medicine (ABA). He moved to Los Angeles and founded Alpha Pain Management in 2005.