Meningitis Outbreak Investigation 08 Oct 12

Minnesota health officials say they’ve confirmed three cases of a rare fungal meningitis linked to a steroid commonly used to ease back pain.

Officials with the Minnesota Department of Health say the women received steroids that came from a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts.

As of Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 91 cases have been confirmed nationwide, with 7 deaths reported.

The pharmacy that distributed a steroid linked to an outbreak of fungal meningitis has issued a voluntary recall of all of its products, calling the move a precautionary measure.

The New England Compounding Center announced the recall Saturday.

The Centers for Disease Control is coordinating a multistate investigation of meningitis among patients who received epidural steroid injections (medication injected into the spine).

The CDC says several of the patients have had strokes related to the meningitis. In several patients, the meningitis was found to be caused by a fungus that is common in the environment but rarely causes meningitis. This form of meningitis is not contagious.

The source of the fungus has not yet been identified, and the cause of infections in the other patients is still being assessed.

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