North Carolina health officials say a person from Davidson County is the latest to die in a nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis. State health director Laura Gerald would not identify the person Saturday, but confirmed that the N.C. victim was the 23rd to die nationwide.
On Sunday, the woman's family identified her as 77-year-old Elwina Shaw of Denton. Family members told reporters she was sick with debilitating headaches for more than a month before health officials realized what was wrong.
A total of 284 people have gotten sick around the country in recent weeks after receiving injections of contaminated steroids produced at a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. Three North Carolina clinics – in Durham, Wilson and High Point - received the steroids. Two people are known to have been infected in the state. The illness is not contagious. It can be treated only with weeks or months of powerful drugs.
HEAVY TURNOUT FOR EARLY VOTING
Election officials are reporting a heavy turnout so far in early voting for president, governor and local races. Early voting sites opened Thursday around Mecklenburg County. The Mecklenburg County Board of Elections reports 40,502 voters had cast ballots through Saturday in the county. That’s well above the pace in the last Presidential election year, 2008, when 34,780 people cast votes in the first three days of early voting. Voting continues daily through Nov. 3 at the Hal Marshall annex in downtown Charlotte, libraries and other sites. More information on the web at www.meckboe.org. Find the latest early voting statistics on the county elections site as well.
LIBERTARIAN V.P. HOPEFUL IN S.C.
The Libertarian Party's vice presidential nominee visited South Carolina on Saturday. Jim Gray met voters at the College of Charleston and also scheduled a rally at the USS Yorktown in nearby Mount Pleasant. Gray is a former trial court judge and federal prosecutor in California. He’s running alongside Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. They’re on the ballot in at least 47 states.
SEARCH FOR TEENS MOVES INLAND
South Carolina authorities are now searching an area off Interstate 77 north of Columbia for signs of two Catawba County teenagers who disappeared more than a week ago on the way to the beach. The Sun-News of Myrtle Beach reported that volunteers are looking for 18-year-old Jake Ziegler and 17-year-old Ray Pierce around Blythewood. That's where authorities say Ziegler used his cell phone to send a text message on Oct. 13 at about 2:45 a.m. Jackie Ziegler, the sister of Jake, told the newspaper that 60 to 80 volunteers searching that area. Friends said the two high school seniors from Sherrills Ford were headed to Myrtle Beach, but there is no evidence they ever arrived.