Long-term Outcomes of Patients with Fungal Infections Associated with Contaminated Methylprednisolone Injections

Academic Article


  • © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America. Background: The largest health care-associated infection outbreak in the United States occurred during 2012-2013. Following injection of contaminated methylprednisolone, 753 patients developed infection with a dematiaceous mold, Exserohilum rostratum. The long-term outcomes of these infections have not been described. Methods: This retrospective cohort study of 440 of a total of 753 patients with proven or probable Exserohilum infection evaluated clinical and radiographic findings, antifungal therapy and associated adverse effects, and outcomes at 6 weeks, 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after diagnosis. Patients were grouped into 4 disease categories: Meningitis with/without stroke, spinal or paraspinal infections, meningitis/stroke plus spinal/paraspinal infections, and osteoarticular infections. Results: Among the 440 patients, 223 (51%) had spinal/paraspinal infection, 82 (19%) meningitis/stroke, 123 (28%) both, and 12 (3%) osteoarticular infection. Of 82 patients with meningitis/stroke, 18 (22%) died; among those surviving, 87% were cured at 12 months. Only 7 (3%) of 223 patients with spinal/paraspinal infection died, but at 12 months, 68% had persistent or worsening pain and only 47% were cured. For the 123 patients with both meningitis/stroke and spinal/paraspinal infection, 10 (8%) died, pain persisted in 72%, and 52% were cured at 12 months. Only 37% of those with osteoarticular infection were cured at 12 months. Adverse events from antifungal therapy were noted at 6 weeks in 71% of patients on voriconazole and 81% on amphotericin B. Conclusions: Fungal infections related to contaminated methylprednisolone injections culminated in death in 8% of patients. Persistent pain and disability were seen at 12 months in most patients with spinal/paraspinal infections.
  • Author List

  • Malani AN; Kauffman CA; Latham R; Peglow S; Ledtke CS; Kerkering TM; Kaufman DH; Triplett PF; Wright PW; Bloch KC
  • Volume

  • 7