Kentucky Woman Newest Victim of Meningitis Outbreak

Apr 18, 2013

A southern Kentucky woman has died at a Nashville hospital of complications from fungal meningitis.

Saint Thomas Hospital spokeswoman Rebecca Climer told The Tennessean that Carol Wetton, 71, of Guthrie, died Tuesday of complications from an original infection.

The Tennessee Department of Health confirmed that a death associated with the outbreak of fungal infections occurred and said the death brings to 15 the number of people who have died in the state. Tainted steroidal injections were discovered several months ago. A statement from the department said it is possible there could yet be other deaths from the infections.

"Even though the period of greatest risk for exposed patients has passed, the department continues to work to assure appropriate awareness of the small possibility of new infection," the department stated.

The department said its most recent recommendation to hospitals was that an MRI scan be done for patients with specific symptoms.

Wetton's death was the first one reported in four months.

On its website, the Cook-Webb Funeral Home in Guthrie said Wetton's service will be at 6 p.m. on Friday.

The first Nashville death from infections following steroidal injections was that of Kentucky Circuit Judge Eddie C. Lovelace of Albany, Ky., who died Sept. 17.

The latest case count by the Centers for Disease Control shows 53 deaths among 733 documented cases in 20 states nationwide.

The count does not include Wetton's death.

The outbreak was traced to injections produced by Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center, which then recalled injections and filed for bankruptcy in December.

In January, the Tennessee Board of Pharmacy discussed several options to increase oversight of sterile compounding pharmacies after last year's deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis.

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