Meningitis Outbreak Deaths Rise to 19 - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Meningitis Outbreak Deaths Rise to 19

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Health officials say four more people have died in the national meningitis outbreak, bringing the number of deaths to 19.

The deaths are among the 247 people in 15 states sickened in the outbreak, which has been tied to steroid shots for back pain. Most have a rare fungal form of meningitis. Two have joint infections.

A specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts made the steroid, and federal officials are investigating the business.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the count on Wednesday. There were two more deaths reported in Tennessee and one each in Florida and Virginia.

The CDC also said test results so far show infections with three kinds of fungus. Most were a form of black mold.

Officials have tied the outbreak of rare fungal meningitis to steroid shots for back pain.

The potentially contaminated injections were given starting May 21, 2012. Updated case counts can be followed on this link to the CDC's site.

In addition to the states where deaths have occurred, other states with confirmed cases are Florida, Indiana, Minnesota, North Carolina and Ohio.

The CDC says as many as 13,000 people may have received medicine from the potentially contaminated injections.

The company recalled the steroid that was sent to clinics in 23 states, and later recalled everything it makes. (The only Nevada location identified is Sahara Surgery Center in Las Vegas - 702-362-7874)

The Food and Drug Administration is urging anyone who has experienced problems to report it to MedWatch, the agency's voluntary reporting program, by phone at 1-800-FDA-1088 or online at www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch/medwatch-online.htm. (AP, CNN)

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CDC outbreak information: http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/outbreaks/meningitis.html  (AP)

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