Kentucky judge likely victim in meningitis outbreak

(AP/THE TENNESSEAN) - A report in the Tennessean, says the probable first victim of the fungal meningitis outbreak in Tennessee was Kentucky Circuit Court Judge Eddie C. Lovelace. He died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center on September 17th. He was 78.

The Tennessean also quotes Lovelace's wife as saying that the judge received three rounds of the pain-relieving steroid injections suspected of causing the outbreak of the rare disease in July and August.

Health officials say the number of people sickened by the deadly meningitis outbreak now stands at 47 cases in seven states.

The number of deaths - five - has remained the same.

Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Florida, North Carolina and Indiana had previously reported cases. On Friday, Michigan joined the list, with four 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. 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. The government urged doctors not to use any of the company's products.

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