Mich. Man Battles Meningitis After Wife's Death

George Cary is battling meningitis. (Image credit: Paul Sancya/AP Photo)

A Michigan man is battling meningitis after receiving tainted steroid injections with his wife, who died Sept. 30 from the same infection.

George Cary, 65, and his wife Lilian, 67, had spinal injections of methylprednisolone acetate for back and neck pain in August, the Associated Press reported. The drug was later linked to a multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis that has killed 24 people.

"I am feeling much better," Cary told the AP Wednesday after three days of intense intravenous antifungal treatment. "The doctors will monitor liver and kidney function and how well I respond to the side effects."

As many as 14,000 people received injections of the suspect steroid, made by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass. More than 300 people in 18 states have contracted fungal meningitis or joint infections from the tainted shots. Michigan has been hit hardest with 80 cases, including five deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For a map of cases by state, click here.

After his wife's death, Cary had a spinal tap to test for signs of meningitis, which affects the membranous lining of the brain and spinal cord. The test came back negative. But days later, Cary developed subtle signs of the disease, including head and neck pain, sensitivity to light and slurred speech, according to his daughter, Jill Bloser.

"I really didn't think he was going to have it, because of how much time has passed," Bloser told the Detroit Free Press, alluding to the monthlong gap between her father's injection and the onset of his symptoms. "I really thought he was in the clear."

The risk of meningitis is highest in the first 42 days following a tainted injection, according to the CDC. Any patient who received a tainted shot has been urged to report any symptoms.

For a full list of clinics receiving the recalled lots of spinal steroid injections, click here.

Bloser said her father is doing well and even "joking with the nurses" at an undisclosed Michigan hospital.

"He sounds good, and he feels pretty good," she told the Detroit Free Press. "I know he's tired."

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