Thursday, October 11, 2012

Four new meningitis cases reported at Ann Arbor hospital

Ann Arbor — Four new cases of fungal meningitis in Michigan have been confirmed at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, officials said Wednesday.

Lauren Smoker, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said officials have confirmed four more cases of the disease, raising the total number of cases being treated at the facility to 22.

Also Wednesday, state health officials updated the number of Michiganians sickened by the outbreak tied to tainted steroids to 28, including three deaths. Nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the outbreak has now reached 137 cases, including 12 deaths.

In Michigan, Lilian Cary, 67, of Livingston County, a 78-year-old Washtenaw County woman and a 56-year-old Genesee County woman have died in the outbreak.

Other states where cases have been found include Tennessee, Virginia, Indiana and Florida. The largest concentration has been in Tennessee, which has 39 cases and six deaths. Michigan is second. Virginia was third with 24 cases and one death.

Most of those cases are believed to have resulted from steroid shots administered to alleviate back pain.
Fungal meningitis is the inflammation of the protective coverings of the brain and spinal cord. It is not contagious, but it can be fatal.

As many as 13,000 people may have received tainted injections nationwide.
In Michigan, four health facilities received shipments of the contaminated steroids.
They are:

— Michigan Neurological Institute in Grand Blanc
— Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton
— Neuromuscular & Rehabilitation in Traverse City
— Southeast Michigan Surgical Hospital in Warren

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