By Nicole Young, The Tennessean
Another Tennessee patient has died from fungal meningitis after a
four-month span when no deaths were reported in the state, officials
Carol Wetton, 71, of Guthrie, Ky., died Tuesday at Saint
Thomas Hospital from complications from the original infection, said
hospital spokeswoman Rebecca Climer.
Her death brings the state fatality count to 15, according to the Tennessee Department of Health.
Centers for Disease Control last updated the total number of U.S. cases
and deaths on April 8. At that time, there were 53 reported deaths and
733 confirmed illnesses from tainted steroid shots across 20 states.
Before Ms. Wetton, the last Tennessee death from the fungal meningitis outbreak was reported in mid-December.
In the wake of Ms. Wetton's death, the state Department of Health issued a statement on Wednesday.
though the period of greatest risk for exposed patients has passed, the
department continues to work to assure appropriate awareness of the
small possibility of new infection," the statement said. "Unfortunately,
it is possible Tennessee and the nation may see more deaths associated
with the outbreak."
A funeral service for Ms. Wetton will be at 6 p.m. on Friday at the Cook-Webb Funeral Home in Guthrie, Ky.
Wetton is survived by her husband, three sons, one daughter, three
brothers, one sister, eight grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and
Climer said no meningitis patients are currently hospitalized at Saint Thomas.
Ms. Wetton, the patients who have died from fungal meningitis after
receiving the tainted injections in Tennessee include:
• Kentucky Circuit Judge Eddie C. Lovelace, 78, of Albany, Ky., who died Sept. 17.
• Margaret Bryant, 74, of McMinnville, who died Sept. 18.
• Elizabeth Pruitt, 72, of Goodlettsville, who died Sept. 26.
• Thomas Warren Rybinski, 55, of Smyrna, who died Sept. 29.
• Diana Reed, 56, of Nashville, who died Oct. 3.
• Reba Temple, 80, a Centerville, Tenn., resident, who died Oct. 6.
• Earline Williams, 72, a longtime librarian at Stratford High School in Nashville, who died Oct. 15.
• J.W. Ragland, 71, of Adolphus, Ky., who died Oct. 16.
• Mary Neal Martin, 89, of Inglewood, who died Oct. 25.
• Marie Prince Hester, 78, of Adairville, Ky., who died Nov. 1.