Health Alert: Kentucky now included in meningitis outbreak

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LEXINGTON, Ky (WKYT) - It is now believed that 13,000 patients have been exposed to the injections from the New England Compounding Center. It was shipped to 75 facilities in 23 states. Kentucky was not one of them. Health officials want you to know that this fungal meningitis is not contagious.

"No, people should not be worried that are walking down the street and contract this disease. The fungal meningitis is an inflammation with an organism around the lining of the spinal chord or the brain, " says Dr. Stephanie Mayfield, Commissioner for the Department for Public Health.

Dr. Mayfield, says the fungal meningitis outbreak has now reached 105 patients, including a handful of Kentuckians.

"Kentucky had five patients that were infected because they were treated out of state in a state that had received these steroid injections. And that was Tennessee," Mayfield adds.

While the CDC doesn't believe any of those steroidal injections have been given in Kentucky, that's not stopping health officials from making sure in state patients are safe.

"The department for public health is working closely with Tennessee and other states, neighboring states to see if any of our patients have been affected," says Mayfield.

A Kentuckian is now one of the nine people that have died from this fungal meningitis outbreak. State health officials are not releasing who that person is.

Family of a Kentucky judge, Eddie Lovelace believe he died from fungal meningitis after receiving a steroidal injection from a Tennessee clinic in September.

The incubation period for fungal meningitis is one to four weeks. The number of cases is expected to rise. Only a fraction of those exposed will get sick.

Symptoms of the disease include nausea, fever, stiff neck. If you have had a steroidal procedure out-of-state, after May 21 of this year, you are encouraged to contact your doctor.

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