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Meningitis Outbreak Expected To Spread

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CBS DFW (con't)

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A medical expert tells CBS 11 that the meningitis outbreak that has killed 15 people so far is nowhere near its end.

At this time, there’s only one confirmed case of fungal meningitis in all of Texas. But now that the Food and Drug Administration has put out a warning about additional drugs produced at the same facility, it’s unclear how widespread this outbreak could be.

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“We’re seeing this snowball effect that we think there will be additional cases,” says Zachary Thompson, Dallas County Health & Human Services director.

Health officials in Texas, including the Dallas County Health Department, say it’s virtually a matter of time before more fungal meningitis cases pour in.

The outbreak has been linked to steroid shots for back pain from a medication made by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. Now, the FDA and Centers For Disease Control say other drugs made at that same facility could also be contaminated.

Investigators are now widening their look at hundreds of medications produced by the same pharmacy for potential risk of carrying the fungus.

The CDC is now relying on physicians to reach out to patients to warn them.

“The clinician will have to spend time going back through medical records trying to identify what patents received the medications, says Thompson. “So it’s going to be very time-consuming on their part, but the safety of their patients is paramount in this process.”

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