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Spangenberg Shibley & Liber, LLP | Dec 4, 2012

Virginia Stops Following Up on Potential Fungal Meningitis Cases; Ohio Reports Another Case

Categories: Fungal Meningitis, NECC

As Virginia slackens its fungal meningitis outbreak surveillance, Ohio reports another case of the illness.

Since pinpointing 680 residents who received NECC’s tainted epidural steroid injection, Virginia health department workers have made weekly phone calls, visited homes, and mailed certified letters to patients who had not yet undergone a spinal tap, according to the Roanoke Times.

Two months later, the Virginia Department of Health has determined that “only about 13 percent” of those injected actually came down with fungal meningitis; people typically begin suffering symptoms within 20 days of the injection; and confirmed cases have slowed to the point that weekly follow-ups are no longer deemed necessary, per state epidemiologist David Trump, M.D.

“This week will mark the last time [Roanoke and Allegheny] nurses make the weekly calls,” said Dr. Stephanie Harper, who heads the two departments. “After that … staff will be available to answer questions, but they will not actively check in with people.”

On the other hand, New River Valley Health District Director Molly O’Dell, M.D., said her department will continue to follow up until December 23 and possibly up to three months beyond that.

According to the CDC’s website, Virginia has suffered 49 cases of fungal meningitis and two deaths.

Ohio has not yet reported any deaths, but a second case of fungal meningitis in Morrow County brings the state total to 16. Three Ohioans have developed paraspinal/spinal infections, which the CDC defines as “epidural abscess, phlegmon, discitis, vertebral osteomyelitis, or arachnoiditis at or near the site of injection.”

NECC shipped its contaminated methylprednisolone acetate injection to more than 64 Ohio healthcare facilities, Mansfield News Journal stated.