The relapse was first reported in The Tennessean newspaper.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the spinal cord and brain that is usually caused by a bacteria or virus. Fungal meningitis is extremely rare, and last year's outbreak is blamed on injectable steroids that were contaminated with mold from the now-closed New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts.
Because the disease is so rare, health officials have called the treatment "new territory" and said there are no studies to advise how long patients should be kept on the powerful antifungal drugs that come with several nasty side effects.
"Infectious disease doctors have had a concern that a few patients may relapse and need additional treatment," said Vanderbilt infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner in a telephone interview from San Francisco, where he was attending an infectious diseases conference. He said experts across the country will be interested in what St. Thomas finds as it brings patients back in for evaluation.
He said whether a patient relapses will likely depend very much on his or her individual case.
"We hope it's not frequent," he said, calling it "an intensive wait-and-see."