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Toxic Black Mold Makes For A Potent Fungal Meningitis

New England Compounding Tainted Steroid Shots

New England Compounding Tainted Steroid Shots

Moldy Steroid Shots Given to Over 14,000 Patients

Fairly healthy people with a chronic back pain are ending up dead as black mold was injected directly into their spines. Sounds like a great terrorist or sci fi plot, yet to the horror of many it is true. The tainted black mold was the courtesy of the careless manufacture of moldy steroid shots sold to 14,000 patients over many states.   Doctors are in uncharted water as this fungal meningitis is not so easy to detect and is not very common. This is a toxic black mold meningitis; a truly different beast than what docs are used to treating. Here is what is considered the worst pharmacy catastrophe in history. Watch the video by 60 minutes.  The folks that had the shots have incredible stories.


New England Compounding Center:  Source of Moldy Steroid Shots

The source of the problem is New England Compounding Center. The suspected causes of the mold tainted injections are: a leaking boiler, dirty floor mats, a pool of water near a “sterile” room where the medicines were manufactured, and the worst being black fungal (mold) growths in steroid vials. Water intrusion was not immediately repaired and necessary cleaning was also neglected.  The company got sloppy, wanting to make as much money as quick as possible according to employees interviewed by 60 Minutes.

NECC Knew  They Had Moldy Shots, Took No Action!

Lena H. Sun of the Washington Post reported that NECC knew that there was mold and bacteria contamination in 80 places including “clean rooms” through their own monitoring, according to federal health officials.  They proceeded to produce their compounds and ship anyway.

Moldy Conditions

There was a basic ignorance to understand what is necessary to prevent mold and kill mold. The moisture provided the perfect medium for mold growth.  Mold needs warm, dark and damp conditions which this room obviously met. Since mold spores can travel, the sitting vials awaiting medicines were silently lined with invisible mold spores.   NECC was in a hurry for some reason and failed to wait for the results of sterility checks which would have identified the mold’s presence.  Sterility checks should have occurred before the manufacturing of the steroid shots.

Sneaky Fungus Can Invade Spinal Fluid/ Brain

This fungus appears as a brown/black “armor” that can sneak past the defense system. The main culprit is:  Exserohilum Rostrum, usually found in dirt and grasses.  Most infections from this fungus are skin infections found in immune compromised individuals according to Dr. David Perlin,  (University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey).   The problem is that human cells and fungal cells are very similar making it hard to target without massive side effects.  The toxic mold then grows slowly burrowing its way from the spinal cord into the spinal fluid.  It then has a direct path to the brain.

Healthy People Under Attack

The research with mold proves that mold toxins are able to go through the blood brain barrier and attack the brain – a serious problem.  One death occurred in Maryland where mold pierced blood vessels in her brain leading to severe brain damage and death.  Usually serious infections attack people with compromised immune systems like AIDS patients. This rare fungal meningitis is attacking otherwise healthy people which simply is a frightening proposition.

Moldy Invasion Occurs Slowly

The fact that the mold grows slowly is confirmed by the average of 42 days before patients show symptoms of a black injection according to the CDC.  In contrast, bacterial and viral meningitis attack quickly, with obvious symptoms.   Treatment for these identified patients includes using the drug Voriconazole.  Patients require being monitored as differences in metabolism can make blood levels surge causing confusion, nausea, hallucinations and sometimes liver damage warns Dr. Carol Kauffman, professor of infectious disease at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Over 300 Patients Sickened,, 25 Dead

As of October 25tt, 24 of the 323 Americans sickened, 25 died.  In 2002 a different fungal meningitis occurred 152 days after the shot.) An update on October 28,2012, brings the total to 25.  New cases are added every day.

Sterile Conditions Needed

We should be grateful that there are such strict rules for sterility of the areas of manufacturing of drugs.  Mold in mass belongs nowhere.  There are health implications within a moldy building.  For the unlucky people with faulty genes, 25% of the population according to Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker, mold toxins pass through the bodies’ immune system with no antibodies produced to destroy them.  Mold toxins are then free to go anywhere, including the brain, slipping through the blood brain barrier and exacerbating all sorts of health conditions. Take care to make sure to prevent mold and kill mold in all situations especially in making compound medicines.

Sources:  CBS/AP October 25, 2012


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Material from The Associated Press, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times is included in this report.


Additional Reading:

Pharmacy New of Mold/Bacteria Contamination Before Fungal Meningitis Outbreak



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