Friday, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 50 people in 7 states have been affected with fungal meningitis, and it has killed at least five people in an outbreak that appears to be widening. The fungal meningitis outbreak has been linked to steroid injections.
Michigan is the seventh state linked to the outbreak and they confirmed six cases on Friday. The CDC said that most of the patients fall ill after receiving steroid injections for back pain.
The CDC reported 35 cases on Thursday and 50 on Friday.
Tennessee, Virginia, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina and Indiana have also reported cases. Tennessee has reported the most cases, and has some patients in intensive care; the state has reported three deaths related to fungal meningitis. The cases were first reported in Tennessee.
Virginia and Maryland have each reported one death.
Reuters reported that steroid injections related to the outbreak were shipped to 76 facilities in 23 states and may have been given to thousands of patients.
“All patients who may have received these medications need to be tracked down immediately,” said Dr. Benjamin Park, a medical officer in the CDC Mycotic Diseases Branch. “It is possible that if patients with infection are identified soon and put on appropriate antifungal therapy, lives may be saved.”
Fungal meningitis is not spread through person-to-person contact.
Within 1-4 weeks after their injections, patients begin to show symptoms which include: fever, headache, nausea and neurological problems, according to the CDC.
According to the CDC: The steroid injections were sent to California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas and West Virginia.
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Sources: Reuters and the CDC
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