You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Thu, Oct 18, 2012 : 4:42 p.m.

Meningitis update: 62-year-old Washtenaw County man is fifth Michigan death

By Amy Biolchini

Editor's note: This story was updated at 5:30 p.m.

A 62-year-old Washtenaw County man has died in an outbreak of fungal meningitis that is now responsible for the deaths of five Michigan residents, Michigan Department of Community Health officials announced Thursday.

The man’s death comes as the number of confirmed cases of fungal meningitis in Michigan patients rose for the 13th consecutive day since Michigan officials announced the first confirmed cases in the state Oct. 5.


A lab worker packages a vial of cerebrospinal fluid to send to a lab to confirm if it's associated with an outbreak of fungal meningitis.

It’s also the second death of a Washtenaw County resident from fungal meningitis. The first was that of a 78-year-old woman, whose death was announced Oct. 9.

The death of a patient who was treated at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor Hospital and discharged to hospice care before the outbreak was discovered was announced around the same time, but hospital officials would not confirm if the death was that of the Washtenaw County woman.

St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor has had 45 patients associated with the outbreak; 44 are confirmed cases of fungal meningitis and one was a joint infection.

Overall, 21 of those patients have been discharged as of Thursday -- an increase of 18 discharges since Wednesday.

The University of Michigan Health System has had two confirmed cases of fungal meningitis. One of the patients died in late September, and the other patient was discharged this week, according to hospital officials.

Though the hospital would not confirm the identity of the patient, the Associated Press reported Lilian Cary, 67, of Howell Township died Sept. 30 from fungal meningitis at the U-M hospital.

As of Thursday in Michigan, 49 patients have had illnesses believed to be linked to contaminated injectable steroids that were shipped to four Michigan facilities from the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts. One of the facilities was Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton.

Of the 49 patients, 45 of them have confirmed cases of fungal meningitis, officials announced Thursday. Three of the patients have epidural abscesses and one of the patients has a joint infected with fungus, officials said.

The state health department reports four Michigan patients have died from the meningitis outbreak. Additionally, a Michigan patient died from fungal meningitis after receiving an injection at an Indiana facility.

Related articles

The Michigan Department of Community Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not include that patient’s death in their overall count of fatalities because she received the injection at an out-of-state facility.

Across 16 states, 257 cases of fungal meningitis — including 20 deaths — have been confirmed as of Thursday, according to the CDC. The CDC is coordinating the investigation into the company that manufactured the steroids.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 11:10 a.m.

This is a very sad thing. I can't imagine what it must be like to go in so a simple shot to ease your back pain and then end up sick and dying from it for months. I certainly hope this will be a wake up call for the powers that be that we need more protections from this kind of thing happening. My heart goes out to the victims and their loved ones.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 11:40 a.m.

OOPS " remember" should have read after I typed before posting.


Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 11:39 a.m.

This epidural shot isn't a simple shot. They put you lightly under to give you the shot in the spot the exrays show is the problem. If I rember correctly it is a sries of 3 shots . I had it years ago and it really helped my pain for years.


Thu, Oct 18, 2012 : 11:22 p.m.

Were the injections of the steroid given at St. Joe's and UM Hospitals? I seem to remember the people were only being treated at our local hospitals, but this is not made clear in the article. Please clarify. Thanks.

Amy Biolchini

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 : 12:31 a.m.

Kittybkahn, neither St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor nor the University of Michigan Health System used the steroids manufactured by the New England Compounding Center that have been recalled and are under investigation by the CDC. Good question. Some physicians at St. Joseph Mercy also practice privately at Michigan Pain Specialists in Brighton, a facility that did use the contaminated steroid and administer injections.