Kentucky Judge's Death May Be Linked To Meningitis Outbreak

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Updated: 10/09/2012 12:42 am
Health officials are looking into whether the recent death of veteran Kentucky Circuit Court Judge Eddie Lovelace could be tied to the national outbreak of a rare form of meningitis.

Lovelace's family said he received a steroid shot at a Tennessee clinic to treat neck pain.

His family said he later developed stroke-like symptoms and died at Vanderbilt University Medical Center on September 17, 2012.

It wasn't until recent reports surfaced about the meningitis outbreak that his family began wondering whether the pain relieving steroid injections were linked to the 78-year old's death.

His family said Lovelace received injections at Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center in Nashville, which health officials said received a shipment of the steroid suspected in the outbreak.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said five other Kentuckians have become ill as part of the fungal meningitis outbreak. 

As of Monday afternoon, the CDC reported 8-deaths and 105-active cases across 9-states.

But health officials said as many as 13,000 patients may have received a steroid shot suspected in the outbreak.

The health department said that the Kentucky patients who became ill were all treated with an epidural injection for back pain in Tennessee with the same drug linked to the outbreak.

The CDC said that no Kentucky institutions received the drug linked to the outbreak.

The pharmacy that the CDC believes is responsible for distributing the drug  voluntarily recalled every product it made.

Doctors said this form of meningitis is not contagious.

Dr. Danesh Mazloomdoost, with the Lexington-based 'Pain Management Center,' said the disease is extremely rare and that epidural steroid injections are generally very safe.

Health officials said anyone who receives a steroid injection and experiences symptoms such as back pain, neck stiffness, or new or worsening headaches,  should consult their doctor.
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