Rare Meningitis Outbreak Leaves 2 Dead

Tennessee hospital closes clinic that gave steroid injections
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2012 3:51 PM CDT
A hospital hallway.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A rare outbreak of fungal meningitis has killed two Tennesseans and infected 11 more, prompting an investigation by state health officials and the CDC, the Tennesseean reports. So far, those infected have one thing in common: injections of epidural steroids at a Nashville hospital this summer. The procedure—usually given to relieve pain—also seems to have infected a patient in another state with meningitis.

Officials have responded by recalling the injections and closing the Outpatient Neurosurgery Center at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville. They've also examined 737 other patients who had the same injection there. Meanwhile, experts are trying to create an ideal treatment for the patients, who are suffering from symptoms like headaches, slurred speech, numbness, and fever. "The earlier people are identified and treatment begins the better outcome they’re likely to have," says an official. (Read more meningitis stories.)

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