8 dead as steroid-related meningitis cases rise to 105

Published October 08, 2012

| Associated Press

Health officials say the number of people sickened by a deadly meningitis outbreak has now reached 105 cases.

The number of deaths rose by one to eight, with another fatality in Tennessee.

Related: Intense pain, confusing diagnosis mark meningitis 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the count on Monday. The list of nine states with reported cases stayed the same. Tennessee, Michigan, Virginia, Indiana, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina and Ohio previously reported cases.

Officials have tied the fungal meningitis outbreak to steroid shots for back pain. The steroid was made by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts.

Related: Pharmacy linked to meningitis outbreak recalls steroid

The company has recalled the steroid which was sent to clinics in 23 states. The government last week urged doctors not to use any of the company's products.

The New England Compounding Center announced the recall on Saturday. The company said in a news release that the move was taken out of an abundance of caution because of the risk of contamination. It says there is no indication that any other products have been contaminated.

The Food and Drug Administration had previously told health professionals not to use any products distributed by the center.

It is not yet known exactly how many people may have been affected, though it could affect hundreds or even thousands of people who received the steroid injections for back pain from July to September.

Meningitis is caused by the inflammation of meninges, which are protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Fungal meningitis is not contagious like its more common viral and bacterial counterparts.

Learn more about this story and what medicines have been recalled from the FDA.

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