Health officials in the US have been probing an unusual breakout of tuberculosis (TB) infections in people who have undergone spinal surgery. They have said that that a potentially tainted bone repair product might have led to such a bizarre TB breakout. Scientists have claimed that nearly more than 100 people might have been exposed to TB bacteria through a bone repair product known as FiberCel during spinal surgeries that have taken place this spring. As per the experts, FiberCel is a putty-like material that is made out of human bone tissue. Experts have said that the product is utilized during many orthopedic and spinal surgical procedures. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a recall notice to the makers of FiberCel, Aziyo Biologics for a single lot of the product. The recall notice has been served to the makers after 23 patients from the hospital who have gone through spinal surgeries have developed post-surgery infections. Around four of them have tested positive for TB. The officials from Aziyo Biologics have said that the recalled lot has been extracted from a single donor cadaver. This recalled lot has been sent to 20 states.
Investigators have said that around 113 patients have been treated with the recalled lot of the product and these patients account for most TB cases in Indiana and Delaware. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that these 113 patients might have been exposed to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB). Experts from the CDC as well are investigating this outbreak along with the FDA. Experts from the CDC have said that all patients who have been treated with the recalled lot of the product should take TB treatment that lasts for 6 months and involved treatment with antibiotics. As per the experts from the federal agency, usually, Mycobacterium tuberculosis affects the lungs but it can have an adverse effect on other parts of the body as well such as the brain, spine, and kidney. Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmits from person to person through the air, said the experts.
Health experts have said that the majority of patients who are infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis are diagnosed with a dormant form of the disease. In such a case, the immune system keeps the infection away and people do not start showing symptoms. However, if the disease turns malignant, bacteria start spreading fast and the disease starts turning severe if it is left untreated. Health experts have said that people who have weaker immune systems are at a higher risk of being diagnosed with an active form of TB infection. Experts who are investigating the TB outbreak have said that the transmission of TB through bone grafts is quite unusual, it is so rare that makers of regenerative drugs such as Aziyo Biologics do not need to test their bone products for Mycobacterium tuberculosis. A case of TB transmission like this has taken place in 1953 for the last time.