Meningitis Toll: 105 Cases and 8 Deaths

The fungus Aspergillus, pictured, has been found in some of the patients affected by the meningitis outbreak. (Image credit: CDC/Dr. Libero Ajello)

The number of people with a rare fungal form of meningitis tied to steroid injections is now up to 105, including eight who have died, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today (Oct. 8).

The outbreak has affected people in nine states. Tennessee has the most infected people, with 35 cases, followed by Virginia with 23 cases, Michigan with 21 cases and Indiana with 11 cases. The other states reporting cases are Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina and Ohio.

The outbreak is linked to steroid injections produced by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass. Patients affected by the outbreak received injections of the steroids in their spines as a treatment for lower back pain. [See: 5 Meningitis Facts You Need to Know.]

An investigation of the NECC facility found a sealed vial of the drug that was contaminated with fungi, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

The New England Compounding Center has voluntarily ceased distribution of its products, and shut down all operations.

The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are urging all health care practitioners not to use any products they may have that originated from NECC. All products made by NECC have been recalled.

The type of meningitis seen in the outbreak is not transmissible from person to person, the CDC says. Symptoms of the fungal meningitis take one to four weeks to appear, and include fever, new or worsening headache, and stiff neck. Some patients with the condition have had strokes.

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