Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

November 23, 2012

Meningitis or not: Woman still waiting after steroid injection

Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — After more than two months, Donna Branham is still playing a waiting game.

Branham, of Summer Shade, is one of many patients who received an epidural steroid injection for back pain at St. Thomas Outpatient Neurological Center in Nashville.

Several patients who have had such injections have contracted fungal meningitis due to epidural steroid injections that came from the New England Compounding Center after being contaminated.

“I’m still hanging in there,” Branham said Friday. “I’ve had a few headaches, but nothing really bad.”

Fungal meningitis is the swelling of the protective membranes, or meninges, covering the brain and spinal cord. The swelling is caused by an infection with a bacteria or virus, but meningitis may also be caused by a fungus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website.

Symptoms of fungal meningitis are: new or worsening headache, fever, sensitivity to light, stiff neck, new weakness or numbness in any part of the body, slurred speech or increased pain, redness or swelling at the injection site, the CDC website stated.

The incubation period for fungal meningitis could be up to three months, but not everyone who had an injection will get sick. Why one person will develop symptoms and another won’t is not known. Underlying health problems could lead to one patient falling ill while others do not, the CDC website stated.

“I’m getting close to the deadline,” Branham said.

The deadline she is referring to is Dec. 7, which is when the three-month incubation period expires. “Maybe I will be one of the lucky ones,” she said.

See the full story in the print or E-edition of the GDT Weekender.