One dead, three sick due to meningitis outbreak in Va. - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

One dead, three sick due to meningitis outbreak in Va.

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

The Virginia Department of Health is on high alert due to a rare meningitis outbreak that has killed four people in five states, including in Virginia.

The outbreak is centered on two facilities in Southwest Virginia where perhaps hundreds of patients have been exposed. The Virginia Department of Health believes contaminated steroids have resulted in one death and made at least three people sick.

Patients that had spinal injections at two facilities in Southwest Virginia have been exposed to a deadly fungus. The steroids at the center of the outbreak is no longer available, said Dr. David Trump, Director of Epidemiology for the Virginia Department of Health.

"The facilities have, or are in the process of, reaching out to patients, providing or making recommendations to seek care as appropriate," said Dr. Trump.

The steroids are believed to have been contaminated with Aspergillos. The fungus then results in a rare form of meningitis that could be deadly. However, the disease is non-communicable and treatable, if caught early.

"The importance is making the diagnosis and providing the appropriate treatment," Dr. Trump said.

He says Richmond and the surrounding areas have not seen a case of meningitis due to contaminated steroids, so far. Symptoms of the disease include severe headaches, nausea, stiff necks, slurred speech, and loss of balance.

If you have these symptoms and have been exposed to steroids, you should seek immediate medical care.

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

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