Kentucky woman diagnosed with Fungal Meningitis

By: Andy Cunningham Email
By: Andy Cunningham Email

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - What started as a bad headache one month ago, led to something much more serious for a young Kentucky woman.

Doctors at UK say Tabatha Muncy, 28, contracted a rare form of fungal meningitis. Muncy's mother said her daughter has been in a medical induced coma for nine days.

"It's horrible, I can't believe this is happening," said Melanie Burkhart, Tabatha's mother.

She said Tabatha began complaining about headaches in early September. They took her to a Corbin doctor, there she was diagnosed with migraines and sent home.

"She got worse, so we took her back and they said it was a sinus infection and sent us home again," Burkhart explained.

It wasn't until her daughter suffered a stroke did doctors refer her to UK Hospital.
Where on the first day, doctors tested, then diagnosed her with Fungal Menigitis.

"They have done a marvelous job here, but sadly, they said the damage was already done," she said. "They told me to be hopeful, but it's unlikely my daughter will pull through."

According to the Center for Disease Control Fungal Meningitis is not transmitted from person to person. People at risk acquire the infection usually by inhaling fungal spores from the environment. It is found primarily in soil or bird/bat droppings in the Midwestern United States, although it can be seen in other places. People with certain medical conditions like diabetes, cancer, or HIV are at higher risk of infection.

"My daughter is diabetic, doctors said that could be how she contracted it, but they don't know forsure," Burkhart continued. "We are just hoping for a miracle and asking people to pray for my daughter."

Doctors at UK are considering taking Tabatha off life support to see if she can breathe on her own.

WKYT wants our viewers to know (Tabatha's) case is not related to the Fungal Meningitis scare stemming from steriod shots in neighboring states.

We're tracking more details tonight about that outbreak making news in neighboring states. 47 people in seven states have become sick, five have died due to the infection linked to steroid shots.

So far the Kentucky department for public health says 'no' cases of that contamination have been reported in Kentucky. They say they can't find any clinics in the state that received the contaminated shots.

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