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Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - 10:51am

GA Has Its First Case Of Fungal Meningitis

Public health officials say they've confirmed the first Georgia case of fungal meningitis linked to steroid injections for back pain produced by a Massachusetts pharmacy.

Georgia thus becomes the 17th state in an outbreak that has sickened nearly 300 people and killed 23.

"This is an individual who is from Macon, is a 66-year-old woman and who is clinically doing quite well and is not hospitalized [...] and is under the care of an infectious disease physician," said Georgia State Epidemiologist Cherie Drenzek.

Drenzek declined to name the woman in accordance with federal medical privacy law.

The patient was one of 184 who received the implicated injections at the Forsyth Street Ambulatory Surgery Center in Macon between July and September, Drenzek said. Since the incubation period for fungal meningitis ranges from one to four weeks, the window in which other patients might expect to see signs of the disease is starting to close.

"We have a few patients that we continue to watch who are exhibiting mild symptoms. We do not have any other suspect cases at this time," Drenzek said.

Pressed for a number of other patients under watch, Drenzek said "fewer than 10."

Drenzek stresses that this kind of meningitis is not contagious person-to-person.