This past few months have seen one of the worst fungal meningitis outbreaks in the USA. Over 400 patients became very sick and close to 40 have died. The established cause was a contamination with a black mold (similar to the one seen in image 1) of a steroid product that was delivered as a spinal cord injection for pain management. A simple cheap (less than $1) test as part of batch by batch Quality control in the manufacturing facility in Massachusetts could have detected the mold and avoided the contamination. The image 1 was taken of a plate when medical students exposed for 1 hour, the culture plate to get a mold count from the air outside their laboratory. This is the kind of molds one would find in any air in any continent and although if one breathes the air and inhales the spore an immunocompetent person or a person with a normal immune system will not have any serious disease but if the same molds are injected along with an immunosuppresive agent like a steroid could potentially do harm and cause meningitis.
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