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Second Bout of Fungal Meningitis More Deadly Than First

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New Worry Arises Over Contaminated Steroid Shots 

You may remember last year when a compounding pharmacy was linked to steroid pain injections contaminated with fungus.  The Centers for Disease Control received reports of 740 patients that were infected with Fungal Meningitis from those contaminated shots.  Now those same patients may have another worry: relapses of their illness.  That’s the case with at least one woman in Tennessee, who is currently undergoing treatment for a relapse of Fungal Meningitis nearly a year after her first case.

Woman Lies in Hospital Bed With Second Bout of Fungal Meningitis

Joan Peay, a 73-year-old Nashville, TN resident was told that she had Fungal Meningitis in 2012.  The first round was brutal, and doctors put her on powerful and debilitating antifungal medications.  She was relieved to hear that she no longer needed them when doctors told her to stop taking them a few months ago, and she described her joy of returning to a normal life in the interview below.  However, her journey with Meningitis was far from over.

Headaches the First Sign of Trouble

Unfortunately, Peay’s improved health was cut short when she began experiencing severe headaches in August.  Doctors prescribed her pain pills to abate the discomfort, but with little success.  As the headaches grew worse, doctors finally performed a spinal tap on Peay and discovered that her white blood count was up from the normal count of under 10 to over 8,000.  Doctors at first suspected that she had Bacterial Meningitis, but when she tested negative, they knew it was a relapse of Fungal Meningitis.

Patient Likely Injected With Fungus-Contaminated Steroid

Saint Thomas West Hospital officials say that a patient is under treatment for a relapse of Fungal Meningitis, but declined to identify the patient by name because of patient confidentiality.  Peay, according to a pending lawsuit, was injected with a fungus-contaminated steroid injection shot at Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurological Center on September 7, 2012.  She began experiencing pain and soreness at the injection site, followed by headaches and stomach problems.