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A Look Inside the CDC Nerve Center for the Meningitis Outbreak

10:12 PM, Oct 15, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- The investigation continues in the multi-state meningitis outbreak of fungal injections. A warning from the FDA about other medicines made by a specialty pharmacy linked to the outbreak. 

First, a look at the latest numbers: 

  • 15 states have been affected so far
  • 214 cases now being reported. 
  • 15 deaths as a result of the fungal meningitis outbreak 

"You may have seen that the case count has gone up in recent days," said Dr. John Jernigan, the lead of the clinical investigation's team for the meningitis outbreak at the CDC's nerve center. "We think this is mainly because we are doing a better job at finding the cases." 

But for some, it's already too late. 

More than a dozen people have died as a result of the fungal meningitis outbreak linked to steroid injections. 

And now, with the FDA's latest warning to doctors about other medicines that could be linked, the outbreak is not looking so well for those in affected areas. 

The warning comes after reports of new illnesses that may be tied to other products made by the same company, the New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass. 

We spoke with both Dr. Jernigan and Phil Navin, the director of the division of emergency operations office. 

"Up to 14 thousand people may have been exposed to one of the three potentially contaminated lots of medication," said Jernigan.

There are no confirmed cases here in Georgia. 

"Meningitis is an inflammation or infection of the lining of the brain," Dr. Jernigan. "It's important to note that fungal meningitis unlike some types of bacterial meningitis is not transmitted from person to person." 

"This is the CDC's emergency operation center," said Navin.
Navin gave us a tour of the state of the art facility keeping a close eye on the outbreak. 

"This is where all of the information is analyzed and decisions are made of how we are going to respond to that potential health threat," said Navin. 

This latest threat of meningitis - a sure reality for a number of cases now and the families who have lost loved ones as a result.

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