published Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Meningitis cases in Tennessee increase to 44

This undated photo made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a branch of the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus. The fungus can also cause skin infections if it enters a break in the skin. The meningitis outbreak is linked to the fungus being accidentally injected into people as a contaminant in steroid treatments. It's not clear how the fungus got into the medicine.
This undated photo made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a branch of the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus. The fungus can also cause skin infections if it enters a break in the skin. The meningitis outbreak is linked to the fungus being accidentally injected into people as a contaminant in steroid treatments. It's not clear how the fungus got into the medicine.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE — The Centers for Disease Control reported Wednesday that the number of rare fungal meningitis cases in Tennessee has increased by five more cases to 44, but the number of deaths in the state remains at six.

Nationwide, the number of cases reported in 10 states increased to 137 cases, including 12 deaths nationwide since the outbreak was first discovered in September.

The CDC has said the outbreak is among patients who received epidural steroid injections that were made by the New England Compounding Center, a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts that has issued a recall for all its products.

This form of meningitis is not contagious and symptoms include fever, new or worsening headache, neck stiffness, sensitivity to light, increasing pain, and redness or swelling of the injection site.

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