Meningitis victims face long, uncertain recovery

By Tamara Lush

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Oct. 20 2012 8:05 a.m. MDT

FILE - In this Oct. 12, 2012 file photo, shows a closeup view of a microscope taking a look at a slide with meningitis causing fungus Exserohilum rostratum at the Mycotic lab at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The staff and technicians have been working around the clock to confirm cases and inform the public regarding the multi-state meningitis outbreak that has resulted in 14 deaths. The fungal outbreak is believed to have started at New England Compounding Center where a steroid injection shipment was contaminated with the fungus.

Pouya Dianat, File, Associated Press

OCALA, Fla. — Those sickened with fungal meningitis face a long and uncertain path as they try to recover.

Many people have died days or even weeks after being hospitalized. Fungal meningitis — which is not contagious — is a tenacious disease that can be treated only with powerful drugs.

Experts say that the drugs themselves can be dangerous if they're not carefully administered and monitored.

One such patient is Vilinda York in Florida, who has been hospitalized since Sept. 27. She received three steroid shots at a Florida pain clinic and then suffered severe back pain and headaches. Doctors don't know when she might be able to go home.

Still, she's hopeful that she can recover, saying God still has a plan for her.

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