US meningitis cases climb to 205 as outbreak worsens

October 15, 2012

Fungal meningitis tied to a contaminated steroid has affected 205 people in a worsening outbreak of the infection that has killed 15 people in the United States, officials said Sunday.

Fourteen states have been affected by the outbreak, the said. On Saturday, it had reported 198 cases nationwide.

The situation is particularly bad in Tennessee, where 53 cases including six deaths have been reported. Michigan follows, with 41 cases and Virginia with 34 cases.

Other states reporting cases include Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas.

The situation took a turn for the worse in a little more than a week. On October 6, the had reported 64 cases including seven deaths.

Almost 14,000 people in 23 states may have received contaminated doses of the steroid—typically injected into the spine to treat back pain—from the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts, which has since shut down its operations and recalled all of its products.

Generally, meningitis symptoms should appear between one and four weeks after the injection, but in some cases they could only show up several months later, according to .

The rare strain of the disease, which inflames the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord, requires a lengthy hospital stay and intravenous anti-fungal medications. It is not contagious in this form.

Explore further: US pharmacy linked to outbreak issues wide recall

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(AP)—Health officials say they have now confirmed more than 90 cases of a rare fungal meningitis that has been linked to a steroid commonly used to ease back pain.

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The number of people believed to have been sickened by a contaminated drug rose to 185 Friday, but US health officials said the death toll from the rare meningitis outbreak held steady at 14.

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