Doctor reports flush of patients worried about meningitis - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Doctor reports flush of patients worried about meningitis

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PHOENIX -

It's causing a big scare around the country -- meningitis cases confirmed in 11 states. In all, 14 people have died.

A lot of the states affected are cold weather states, and some of the people living there come to Arizona for the mild winter. We call them snowbirds, and those people could be at risk here in the valley even though the contaminated shots were never sent to Arizona.

Barbara Wadleigh receives steroid shots to combat her chronic pain.

"I had gotten several shots during that time period, I was very panicky," she says.

Contaminated steroid shots are infecting people with fungal meningitis. Some have died.

"I was like oh my gosh, is this in Arizona?"

The Scottsdale retiree feared one of her injections could have been a bad one. The former school teacher reached out to her doctor -- so did dozens of others.

"Monday morning, the phones started ringing off the hook and has been ringing ever since," says Dr. Alex Bigham.

Dr. Bigham runs Novocur Pain Management Center in north Scottsdale. He tells patients none of the contaminated shots farmed out of a Massachusetts compound pharmacy were sent to Arizona. It's a relief for Wadleigh.

"After I heard it wasn't Arizona, I was concerned about the other people that got these injections."

Some of those people could be living here now.

"There's a big snowbird population in Arizona and they are just now starting to come," says Dr. Bigham.

Many snowbirds come from the colder states where some of the contaminated pain shots were given.

Get to a doctor immediately if you experience meningitis symptoms, like fever, neck stiffness, slurred speech and paralysis.

Wadleigh is worried about the people who are infected.

"I feel really sad. I'm sure they are very anxious and helpless."

The contaminated pain shots have been linked to epidurals, but Dr. Bigham says that same medication could have been used in other drugs for various reasons.

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