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Health Department confirms meningitis death in Davidson County

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DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. -- The State Health Department has confirmed a death in Davidson County is related to the national outbreak of fungal meningitis, which has been linked to tainted steroid shots in 16 states.

This is the first death in North Carolina related to the outbreak, but the Health Department reports one other case of fungal meningitis in the state is also connected.

The victim in the second case is still being treated but is no longer hospitalized, according to a Health Department press release issued Saturday.

A Denton family tells FOX8 their 77-year-old grandmother is the woman who died Friday from the disease.

"It cost me everything. Everything," said Rex Shaw, holding back tears.

He and his teenage sweetheart, Effie, were married nearly 60 years.

Effie died Friday at High Point Regional. Her family says she is the latest victim of the fungal meningitis outbreak.

"Our mother, until she had this injection, was in otherwise good health," Effie's son Scott Shaw said.

He said Effie needed back surgery in August, but insurance required her to try epidural injections for her back pain first.

Scott says the first and second shots neither helped nor hurt his mother, but the third shot made her violently ill.

"She was having excruciating headaches and vomiting.... On the second trip to the emergency room she was diagnosed with fungal meningitis," Scott said.

Rex added, "I would love to hurt these people that did this. But at the same time, if I could hurt them as bad as I've been hurt, I couldn't do that. It's that bad."

Now the Shaw family is worried about the 14,000 people the CDC says may have gotten the tainted steroid injections.

The New England Compounding Center ceased production and recalled all products in early October, including these steroid injections.

"More than twenty people have died. Who knows how many more?" Rex said.

There are now 285 reported cases of fungal meningitis connected to the outbreak, according to the CDC. The death count remains at 23.

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