An outbreak of fungal meningitis has claimed its third Tennessean’s life as of Thursday, October 4, for a total of five dead in the six states so far affected. Officials have reported 25 cases in Tennessee, of the 35 total cases nationwide.
This rare type of meningitis is caused by fungal infection, and is thought to have been spread through the administration of a specific batch of epidural steroid injections, which are routinely given for back pain. The steroids were traced back to a specialty pharmacy company in Framingham, Mass. called the New England Compounding Center, which has issued a recall of three lots of the drug. The company is cooperating with officials to identify the source of the infection.
Meningitis is inflammation of the protective lining of the brain and spinal cord. The most common symptoms are headache and neck stiffness, fever, confusion, vomiting, dizziness, and sensitivity to light. Its incubation period can be between two and 28 days.
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