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Death toll from meningitis outbreak rises to 15

ABC reports that another person has died from a fungal meningitis outbreak, bringing the total death toll to 15.

The report cites newly released figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stating that 198 people in 13 states have contracted the infection, which comes from a tainted steroid medication called methylprednisolone acetate. It’s commonly injected into the spine for back pain, although one of the patients was infected after receiving an injection for ankle pain.

The drug was manufactured by the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., and sent to 76 clinics in 23 states. As many as 14,000 people may have been exposed, the CDC reports.

Fifty-two of the fungal meningitis cases — six of them lethal — have been reported in Tennessee. Cases have also been reported in Michigan, Virginia, Indiana, Maryland, Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, New Jersey, Idaho, Texas and, most recently, Illinois.

Unlike the more common viral and bacterial forms of meningitis, the fungal infection in the current outbreak is not contagious.

Meningitis is an infection that causes inflammation of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms from the fungal variety include headache, fever, nausea, stiffness of the neck, confusion, dizziness, discomfort from bright lights, weakness or numbness, slurred speech and pain, redness or swelling at the injection site.

Symptoms can take as long as a month to manifest themselves after the initial infection. The CDC says the potentially contaminated injections began on May 21, 2012.

According to ABC, Tennessee has been particularly hard-hit, with 52 of the reported cases and six deaths. Cases have also been reported in the following states: Michigan, Virginia, Indiana, Maryland, Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, New Jersey, Idaho, Texas and Illlinois.

Lopez McHugh is investigating cases related to this outbreak. If you or a loved one had an injection and were diagnosed with meningitis, you should consult with a Lopez McHugh lawyer for a free consultation.

See the story here:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/cdc-reports-15th-meningitis-death/story?id=17472084#.UHwXy67oXJo