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Officials Warn About Meningitis Outbreak
Written by Andrew Forgotch
Last updated on October 05, 2012 @ 8:43PM
Created on October 05, 2012 @ 5:45PM
A rare form of meningitis has killed five people across the country and it's put doctors on high alert.
 
Health officials have blamed it on a medication from Massachusetts.
 
The drugs in question have been sent to 23 states, including West Virginia.
 
As of Friday there weren't any reports of it here in the Mountain State, but we want to make sure you're prepared.
 
The folks who are at risk for coming down with the dangerous fungal meningitis recently received a steroid injection to their lower backs.
 
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control more than 40 people have been infected in connection with the recent outbreak.
 
One aspect that's making things tough for doctors is the fact that the medication in question is being injected right into a cerebral spinal fluid, and experts haven't seen anything like that before. 
 
There are many forms of meningitis, but experts said this one is fungal in nature and that kind is often very tough to treat.
 
The infection is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord and is usually very subtle.
 
"Many people are aware of meningitis," Dr. Rashida Kahkoo, the Chief of Infectious Diseases at WVU Healthcare said. "They're aware of the seriousness (of meningitis). We have to be concerned about all meningitis."
 
If you've gone for a treatment recently call your doctor to see if they've used the medication that's in question.
 
One facility that hasn't used the medication is WVU Healthcare.
 
They told 5 News in a statement that, "in light of the recent national news about the fungal meningitis outbreak that resulted from a steroid injection commonly used for back pain, WVU Healthcare wants to assure its patients and the community at large that the product in question has never been used at Ruby Memorial Hospital or any WVU healthcare clinics."
 
Symptoms of this form of meningitis include the symptoms include severe headaches, nausea, dizziness, fever, and a sensitivity to light.
 
This infection comes on quick so if you have any of those symptoms call your doctor right away.

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