Michigan Death Toll Rises to 8 in Meningitis Outbreak - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Michigan Death Toll Rises to 8 in Meningitis Outbreak


Officials say two more Michigan residents have died as a result of the national meningitis outbreak.


The victims are an 81-year-old woman from Charlevoix County and a 64-year-old woman from Wayne County. The Department of Community Health said Tuesday that there have been 62 Michigan meningitis cases, including eight deaths.

To see a national map of the outbreak, visit the CDC website.

St. Joseph Mercy Hospital near Ann Arbor is on the front line of this fight. Doctors there are treating the majority of Michigan's cases with more than 70 patients since the start of the outbreak, 30 of them still there.


"We're working very closely with the Centers for Disease Control, and really following their recommendations and currently the recommendations are for patients to be on a single medication called voriconazole which is administered intravenously," said Chief Medical Officer at St. Joseph Mercy Dr. Lakshmi Halasyamani.

It's basically an anti-fungal medication and doctors say it's potent.

"The medications are typically causing side effects such as nausea, vomiting, visual hallucinations... They can cause liver toxicity or problems with your liver function test," said Dr. Halasyamani. "We're turning to our knowledge of treating other types of fungal infections to help guide us as we treat patients, but there is uncertainty. There's uncertainty for the patients and uncertainty in the science as we're all learning about the management of the these patients together."


The illness has been linked to contaminated steroids made by a Massachusetts pharmacy and shipped to at least four Michigan clinics.

Besides the confirmed cases of meningitis, Michigan officials also report one stroke, four joint infections and 27 abscesses. The tainted steroids were injected to relieve pain.


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