One of the victims of last year's deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis has suffered a relapse. Rebecca Climer, spokeswoman for Nashville's Saint Thomas West Hospital, wrote in an email that a patient was admitted on Thursday after suffering a re-occurrence of the sometimes-deadly infectioThe hospital reported the relapse to the Tennessee Department of Health. It also is contacting other fungal meningitis patients to alert them to be on the lookout for possible symptoms of a relapse.
The relapse was first reported in The Tennessean newspaper.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the spinal cord and brain that is usually caused by a bacteria or virus. Fungal meningitis is extremely rare, and last year's outbreak is blamed on injectable steroids that were contaminated with mold from the now-closed New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts.
Because the disease is so rare, health officials have called the treatment "new territory" and said there are no studies to advise how long patients should be kept on the powerful antifungal drugs that come with several nasty side effects.