Tennessee Department of Health and CDC Investigating Meningitis Cases

Monday, October 01, 2012 | 05:09 pm

NASHVILLE The Tennessee Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating cases of meningitis involving 11 patients treated at one outpatient surgical center/pain management clinic in Nashville and one patient treated at a facility in another state. The form of meningitis in these patients is not transmitted from person to person and the cause for the cluster of cases is not known.  Two patients related to this cluster of meningitis have died.

All patients at Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center who had lumbar epidural steroid injections between July 30, 2012 and September 20, 2012 have been notified. The facility was closed Sept. 20 and will not reopen until TDH, CDC and the center are confident the current concerns have been resolved. No cases involving other medical facilities in Tennessee have been identified.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the facility itself, other hospitals providing follow-up care and many members of the TDH team are involved in the ongoing investigation, studying all factors that could cause meningitis. 

“We are extremely saddened by the impact this tragic situation has had on patients and their loved ones and we are working quickly to get answers,” says TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH.  “As we continue our investigation, we will remain as transparent as possible, providing information to the people of Tennessee, and to our partners and allies in the health and medical communities. It’s important to note the astute reporting of the initial case by a local clinician and the excellent cooperation we received from the Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center and other medical professionals in Nashville allowed us to quickly begin a thorough investigation with our partners at the CDC and FDA.  Everyone involved has been fully cooperative and helpful.”

There are many different types of meningitis, a general term for an infection or inflammatory process involving the lining of the brain and central nervous system.  The cluster of infections under investigation has no relation to the much more common form of bacterial meningitis recently reported by Tennessee media impacting the educational community.

The TDH and the Tennessee Poison Control Center have partnered to answer questions from the public about meningitis. The number is 1-800-222-1222.

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. For more information about TDH services and programs, visit http://health.state.tn.us/.