Fungal meningitis is diagnosed through a spinal tap, which draws cerebrospinal fluid from the spine that can be inspected for signs of the disease. Once detected, it can be treated with high doses of intravenous antifungal medications.
People affected by the current outbreak are being treated with two different types of antifungal medications until the type of fungus causing the infection -- aspergillus or exserohilum -- can be identified.
"These drugs are very strong and can be very difficult for patients to tolerate over time," said Dr. J. Todd Weber, incident manager of the Multistate Meningitis Outbreak at the CDC. He said the agency was working with experts on the dose and duration of the treatments.
The CDC has confirmed one case of aspergillus meningitis and 10 cases of exserohilum meningitis. It's unclear how the fungi landed in the steroid vials.
Unlike bacterial meningitis, fungal meningitis is not transmitted from person to person and only people who received the steroid injections are thought to be at risk.
Puro claims the New England Compounding Center "was negligent because it failed to use reasonable care when it designed, tested, manufactured, marketed and sold doses of methylprednisolone acetate," and that she and others who received the recalled drug have "suffered serious bodily harm, other personal injuries and emotional distress, and have incurred medical and other expenses." She is seeking compensation for damages, attorney fees and other costs.