Tennessee health official honored at White House

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A Tennessee doctor is being credited by the White House with protecting the public and saving lives by identifying the fungal meningitis outbreak connected to contaminated steroid injections last year.

Tennessee Health Department epidemiologist Marion Kainer was among eight people honored Tuesday during a ceremony at the White House as a prevention and public health “Champion of Change.”

The White House website says Kainer and her team helped save lives by quickly determining the cause of the outbreak and stopping the injections as well as by tracking down every affected patient and getting treatment to the sick.

The official death count from the outbreak in Tennessee is 15, with 153 patients sickened. Nationwide, 63 deaths have been recorded with 749 patients sickened.