As Meningitis Outbreak Grows, Potential Victims Wait, Worry
by Emily Luxen
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Two more Tennesseans have lost their lives in the meningitis outbreak, bringing the death toll to eight.
A total of 61 patients have now been diagnosed with meningitis because of tainted epidural steroid injections produced at the New England Compounding Center.
The national outbreak of fungal infections now stands at 247 cases nationwide. The nationwide death count rose to 19, while the number of states affected remains at 15.
The Tennessee Department of Health is also now reporting 74 health care facilities in Tennessee have received suspect material from the New England Compounding Center.
As the numbers continue to rise, some patients who received the tainted steroid injections are sitting and waiting to see if they develop symptoms. Sally Yeagley received two of the injections for back pain at Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center on July 24 and September 17. She was shocked to learn the injections were tainted, and she could have fungal meningitis.
"It was hard getting all this information. You look at it and you say am I going to be the next one?" said Yeagley.
Yeagley is one of about 1,000 patients in Tennessee to receive the tainted injections. She said she is determined to stay positive, and not let the scary situation keep her from living her life to the fullest.
"Just take a deep breath, and know that there is not a thing you can do about it," said Yeagley, "we can't take it back. Just be as healthy as you can."
Yeagley did receive a letter in the mail from Saint Thomas this week reminding her to be on the lookout for symptoms up to 90 days after she received the injection. Symptoms of fungal meningitis include headaches, a sore neck, fever and dizziness.
"I feel great so far," said Yeagley. "No problems so far."