Meningitis Outbreak Kills 7

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 6 2012 5:05 PM

Meningitis Outbreak Kills Seven, Continues Spreading To Ninth State

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Health officials discovered at least one contaminated vial in a specialty Massachusetts pharmacy

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control said Saturday that seven people have been killed by an outbreak of a rare fungal meningitis that has so far infected 60 people across nine states. Minnesota and Ohio are the two latest states to report people getting sink after receiving steroid injections that have been linked to a pharmacy in Massachusetts, reports the Associated Press.

Officials fear thousands of people could have been exposed. At least one contaminated vial in a specialty Massachusetts pharmacy was discovered and it remains unclear how fungus got into the steroid that is commonly used for back pain. A total of 76 facilities across 23 sates received vials of the steroids that have been linked to the outbreak, points out Reuters.

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Anxiety is running high among patients who have received a steroid shot but doctors say no one should worry unless symptoms, including headaches, fever, stiff neck, difficulty walking or worsening back pain, begin to appear, reports the AP. Health officials say the fungus can’t be transmitted from person to person.

The states that have reported cases of people getting sick after receiving the injections are Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Indiana, Minnesota, and Ohio.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.