Vanderbilt health officials took us behind the scenes to this pharmacy where THE medicine considered life saving for so many right now. It's an anti fungal IV --- the only hope those with fungal meningitis have.
Dr. William Shaffner// Infectious Disease Vanderbilt "This waiting this uncertainty is agonizing and I'm sure extremely stressful."
Doctors say the incubation period for fungal meningitis is a week to a month... or longer.
Stacy Case asks: Do you have an estimate of how many people are affected?
Dr. John Dreyzehner TN Health Commissioner "In our state we estimate 1,000 people who are at risk.. ie they have received some of the contaminated medication."
With more than a thousand at risk---- should doctors start them on this medicine preventatively?
Stacy Case asks Can they call up and say I got the injection and I want to get ahead of this?
Dr. William Shaffner/ Infectious Disease Vanderbilt The antifungal medications we have are very difficult to use. They're toxic drugs. While they're used to treat the infection they can also damage the body particularly the kidney and liver.
Dr David Reagan/ State Health Dept. Just right now the CDC is not recommending prophylacsis and we are not recommending prophylacsis. It looks right now as from our analysis if we identify symptoms early and appropriate treatment is started then the response is good.
The problem is, the fungal meningitis onset, we've now learned is different from bacterial and viral meningitis. The latter two come on suddenly. Fungal meningitis eases on with less severe symptoms INITIALLY.... which may go unnoticed.
Also Monday, health officials revealed the CDC has discovered a second mold, in addition to aspergillus inside this tainted vial. The second mold is Exserohilum doctors are starting to study its role in the sickness.
Monday, October 8 2012, 10:48 PM CDT