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Two meningitis cases reported in W.Va.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. --  Two people in West Virginia have been diagnosed with meningitis related to recalled vials of a steroid made at a Massachusetts compounding center, according to the state Office of Epidemiology and Prevention Services.

No one in West Virginia has died from the infection, according to the state. 

Five others in the state have been infected, at the spot on their bodies where they received steroid injections, but have not contracted meningitis. Those cases are also tied to the Massachusetts compounding center. 

All of the cases have been patients treated at the Pars Interventional Pain and Wellness Center. The Parkersburg clinic is the only West Virginia clinic of the 75 facilities in 23 states to have received the contaminated injections, according to the state.

Nationwide, there have been 730 reported cases of fungal meningitis including 51 deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The infection is not contagious.

The first West Virginia case was reported Feb. 4 and the latest case was reported March 25, said Carrie Thomas, healthcare association infections coordinator for the state Office of Epidemiology and Prevention Services.

Details about the severity of the meningitis cases and where the patients live are not being released, Thomas said. 

Representatives of the Parkersburg facility have been following up with patients who received the injections, Thomas said. 

"They'll continue to do that until CDC says otherwise," Thomas said.

Around 223 patients got injections from the Parkersburg clinic, according to the state.

Thomas said the CDC has not set a time limit of when the clinic should stop following up with patients to see if they have the infection. Much of what officials know about the fungal meningitis, they learned through the outbreak, she said.

"There's no real stopping point [for following up with patients]," Thomas said. "We can't say that 'in this amount of time you don't have to worry about it' because we don't know about it as much as we'd like."

Reach Lori Kersey at lori.kersey@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.


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