Meningitis Outbreak Fears Spread Across Virginia - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Meningitis Outbreak Fears Spread Across Virginia

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A meningitis outbreak in Virginia has already claimed one life, and it has many nervous in the commonwealth. The outbreak of non-contagious, fungal meningitis likely stems from contaminated steroid shots.

There have been at least 39 confirmed cases across the country, claiming five lives.

The Virginia Department of Health says close to 700 people in southside Virginia could have come in contact with the disease and there are five confirmed cases. 

The outbreak of fungal meningitis has been tied to steroid shots used to treat back pain. The steroid was custom-made by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts, the New England Compounding Company. Health inspectors found fungus in at least one sealed vial of the steroid at the company's facility. The company has recalled the steroid which was sent to clinics in 23 states.

In Virginia, the steroid suspected in the outbreak has been linked to two outpatient clinics, Insight Imaging in Roanoke and New River Valley Surgery Center in Christiansburg.

The government urged doctors not to use any of the company's products.

Charlottesville Pain Management isn't affected by this outbreak, but phones have been ringing off the hook.

Dr. Rasheed Siddiqui with the Charlottesville Pain Management Center, said, "We've been going through all of our stock, making sure we don't have any of this stuff from the New England Compounding Company in our office. So, rightly so, people are concerned, people are calling. I encourage people to call."

Unlike other types of meningitis, this infection is not contagious and only affects those who received a contaminated spinal steroid shot.

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