Meningitis Outbreak Toll: 205 Cases, 15 Deaths - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Meningitis Outbreak Toll: 205 Cases, 15 Deaths

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This photo shows vials of the injectable steroid product made by New England Compounding Center implicated in a fungal meningitis outbreak that were being shipped to the CDC from Minneapolis. (Photo: AP) This photo shows vials of the injectable steroid product made by New England Compounding Center implicated in a fungal meningitis outbreak that were being shipped to the CDC from Minneapolis. (Photo: AP)

WASHINGTON (AP)- Federal health officials are reporting the number of cases of fungal meningitis has risen to 205.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the number of deaths stands at 15.

Fourteen states are now reporting cases. The latest is New Hampshire. Others include Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. 

The outbreak has been linked to steroid shots used for back pain made by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. The medication has been recalled.

In Tennessee, the worst-hit state in the outbreak, health officials say the number of meningitis cases in the state have increased by three since Friday. 

The Health Department said on its website Sunday that there are now 53 cases, with an unchanged number of six deaths reported. 

On Friday, health officials determined that a June shipment of epidural steroids was not part of a recalled batch that has been linked to the deadly fungal meningitis outbreak.

The department had said on Friday that it became aware of the batch and officials were trying to determine whether it was part of the massive recall issued by the New England Compounding Center after the shots were linked to the outbreak.

Tennessee health officials said they don't think any shipments of the injections arrived there until June 27. 

At the main campus of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, officials say dozens of people are working day and night to bring a meningitis outbreak under control.

Dr. John Jernigan is a medical epidemiologist at the CDC leading the clinical investigation team for the outbreak response. He says this infection, which is caused by a fungus, is very unusual. 

Meningitis is typically caused by a virus or bacteria. The fungus linked to this outbreak is common in dirt and grasses, but it is making people sick because it found its way into a steroid injected into people with back pain.

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