| NASHVILLE, Tenn.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. Oct 5 A patient treated during
the deadly meningitis outbreak in the United States last year
that was tied to contaminated steroid injections is back in the
hospital for a recurrence of the infection, a Nashville hospital
said on Saturday.
"The patient was admitted to Saint Thomas West Hospital on
October 3 and is now receiving appropriate treatment at the
hospital," hospital spokeswoman Rebecca Climer said.
Other patients treated during the deadly 2012 outbreak of
fungal meningitis were being contacted to determine whether they
too were showing symptoms of relapse, Climer said in a
statement. Those signs include persistent and severe headache,
worsening back pain and unexplained fever, the hospital said.
People who suffered illness in the outbreak that was first
detected in Nashville in September 2012 were jolted by the phone
calls from the hospital, said Nashville attorney Mark Chalos,
who represents 10 families, including some whose relatives died.
"It's a very scary situation and my clients are very worried
about their health," Chalos told Reuters. "They have struggled
for more than a year with a severe illness and it looks like
there's no end in sight to their suffering."
Tennessee was the second hardest-hit state, behind Michigan,
in the 2012 outbreak, which killed dozens of people and made 750
people ill nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease
Control. The outbreak was linked to the New England Compounding
Center in Massachusetts and injections of a fungus-tainted
steroid typically used to ease back pain.
Some 2,000 vials of the drug went to Nashville's St. Thomas
Outpatient Neurosurgery Center, which received more than any
other facility in the nation.
The CDC could not be reached for additional information
about the recurrences of infection because of the U.S. federal
government shutdown. Calls to CDC phones were answered by
recordings about furloughed workers.
The outbreak of fungal meningitis was first detected at
Nashville's Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where a doctor
traced a dying patient's unusual symptoms to an epidural steroid
injection at St. Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center.
The outbreak raised awareness about potential problems at
compounding pharmacies and the U.S. House of Representatives
last month passed legislation that would give the Food and Drug
Administration more authority to regulate companies that
compound sterile drugs and ship them across state lines.
The Drug Quality and Security Act, which now goes to the
Senate for a vote, would create national standards to track
pharmaceuticals through the distribution chain to bar fake