Federal Officials Work To Identify Americans At High Risk For Meningitis

Now that up to 14,000 Americans have been exposed to a deadly strain of fungal meningitis that originated from tainted products at a Massachusetts-area pharmacy, health officials are hoping to release guidelines this week to help doctors assess their patients’ risk and decide how aggressive the follow-up treatment should be. The earlier that treatment for meningitis begins, the better — but doctors do not want to risk treating people who do not have meningitis, since the drugs can have serious side effects. Health experts note that the medical field is not experienced in treating nervous system infections, such as this rare fungal meningitis that can cause strokes and has already killed 23 people. Those who have been exposed must wait for several months, past the point of meningitis incubation, to be certain they have not contracted it.