A non-contagious, fungal form of meningitis has sickened 26 people in five states, killing four, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.
Five additional cases were reported in Tennessee, health officials said Tuesday. The total number of cases in that state is 18.
Three cases have been reported in Virginia, two each in Florida and Maryland and one in North Carolina, the CDC said. Two people have died in Tennessee, one in Virginia and one in Maryland.
All of those infected had received steroid injections to the spine.
Tennessee: Meningitis outbreak investigated
The Tennessee victims range in age from 49 to 89, state Health Commissioner Dr. John Dreyzehner said Wednesday. Department spokesman Woody McMillin said Tuesday 11 patients were hospitalized.
"The prime suspect for this outbreak is methylprednisolone acetate," Dreyzehner said Wednesday.
Methylprednisolone acetate is an injectible steroid product used to treat pain and inflammation.
Food and Drug Administration officials identified the manufacturer as New England Compounding Center (NECC), which conducted a voluntary recall of three lots of methylprednisolone acetate 80mg/mlinjection produced at NECC. The lot numbers are #05212012@68, #06292012@26 and #08102012@51.
The FDA continues to work with state health departments and the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy to investigate the scope and cause of the outbreak of the fungal meningitis, according to FDA spokesperson Erica Jefferson.
"We expect to see more cases," Dreyzehner said, noting the infection can take up to 28 days to develop.