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Dr. Carl McComas

St. Mary’s Medical Center neurologist Carl McComas discusses the connection between opioids and strokes, Thursday, in Huntington.

HUNTINGTON — It used to be rare that doctors treated strokes caused by bacteria in the bloodstream, but now they are seeing at least one patient every week in Cabell County, said Dr. Carl McComas, a neurologist at St. Mary’s Medical Center.

The rise in infections is fueled by the opioid epidemic and IV drug use, typically from dirty or shared needles. The infections, known as bacterial endocarditis, are injected into the bloodstream, entering the brain and leading to a massive stroke.

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