Meningitis outbreak concerns Shelby Co. doctors

Meningitis outbreak concerns Shelby Co. doctors

(WMC-TV) - Three Tennesseans are dead following an outbreak of fungal meningitis.  In all, 25 cases have been reported in the state.

Officials at the Memphis Shelby County Health Department say these meningitis outbreaks have been contained to Middle and East Tennessee.

They say there have been no reported cases of meningitis in Memphis, Shelby County, or other parts of West Tennessee.

"The amount of pain she has had to endure is unexplainably difficult. To watch my mother shake her head in pain should not happen," said Teresa Russell.

Teresa Russell's mother, Janet, received an epidural injection at Nashville's St. Thomas clinic August 30.

Now, a month later, she is in intensive care with fungal meningitis and is facing a long road to recovery.

Health officials in Memphis are keeping a vigilant eye even though there have not been any reported cases of meningitis in the Bluff City.

"There are various other viruses that can cause meningitis but one we worry the most about here is West Nile," said Dr. Helen Morrow.

There are three types of meningitis: bacterial, fungal and viral.  It is basically an infection in the brain and spinal cord.

Dr. Helen Morrow says they can all cause disability, brain damage, and even death and come with a variety of symptoms including a stiff neck and slurred speech.

"You can have headaches, fever, nausea," Morrow adds.

Officials say the meningitis outbreak has doctors and residents across Tennessee very concerned.

They say if you experience any of the symptoms of meningitis, call your doctor immediately.

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