News of the meningitis outbreak continues to consume my time, but I wanted to give you, my blog readers, a place to ask questions and comment on the outbreak.
Here’s the latest news from my story published today.
The number of people sickened from the deadly meningitis outbreak is expected to rise, as health officials acknowledged they still don’t know how long, if ever, it takes for a person who received tainted steroid injections to exhibit symptoms.
“This is going to be evolving,” state Health Commissioner Karen Remley said in a teleconference with reporters Tuesday. “We don’t know how many will get sick and how long it will take to get sick.”
Virginia health officials have linked 24 people to the meningitis outbreak that has killed 11 nationally. One has died in Virginia.
All those linked to the outbreak received a tainted steroid injection. Just two outpatient clinics in Virginia gave the shots: Insight Imaging in Roanoke and New River Valley Surgery Center in Montgomery County.
Of the 24 Virginia cases identified so far, three live in West Virginia, but received the shots in Virginia, said state epidemiologist Dr. David Trump.
Even as more patients are identified, and many questions remain, one new detail has emerged about those who appear to be most prone to becoming ill.
Among the cases identified in Virginia, all of the people received a shot from the second of the three recalled lots of medicine linked to the outbreak, Trump said.
The finding means that people who received the epidural spinal injections at Insight Imaging in Roanoke or New River Valley Surgery Center in Montgomery County on or after Aug. 8 are of biggest concern to health officials for potentially becoming ill, Trump said.
Investigators have linked the outbreak to three lots of a steroid that was custom-made by a specialty pharmacy, New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass. Those lots, which have been recalled, were sent to about 75 clinics in 23 states, including the two in Southwest Virginia. The earliest injections were given starting May 21, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Remley and Trump acknowledged that it will take time for all of the answers to emerge.
“This will be a multimonth process for the health department,” Remley said