Outbreak of Severe Fungal Eye Infections Linked To IV Opioid Epidemic

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Aubrey Tirpack, PGY3

New England Eye Center
Tufts Medical Center 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Intravenous drug abuse is a known risk factor for the development of endogenous fungal endophthalmitis (EFE), a severe intraocular infection cause by the seeding of mycotic organisms to the eye.

Our institution noted a marked increase in cases of EFE beginning in May 2014, which correlates to increasing rates of opioid abuse throughout the New England region. Ten patients were found to have intravenous drug abuse related EFE over the two year time period studied. The most common presenting symptoms were floaters, decreased vision, and pain. All patients were treated with systemic antifungals and nine patients underwent intravitreal antifungal injection. All patients were ambulatory at presentation and the majority were without systemic signs of infection.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Patients with intravenous drug abuse related EFE are typically systemically well at presentation requiring health care providers maintain a high index of suspicion for this vision threatening disease.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.


Tirpack AR, Duker JS, Baumal CR. An Outbreak of Endogenous Fungal Endophthalmitis Among Intravenous Drug Abusers in New England. JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online April 20, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2017.0650

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on April 22, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD