Third meningitis case reported in Maryland

Minnesota becomes eighth state to announce cases

October 06, 2012

Maryland health officials on Saturday announced a third patient has developed meningitis in the state after receiving a steroid injection in September. More cases were found across the country, bringing the total to more than 60.

The person is alive, but no additional information will be released about the case, said Dori Henry, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

This is the third Maryland case linked to methylprednisolone acetate that was produced and distributed by the New England Compounding Center. Seven state clinics received the steroid and have been contacting patients all week.

Nationally, Michigan reported two deaths Saturday, making the national death toll seven. New cases in Ohio and Minnesota on Saturday brought to nine the number of states affected, officials said.

Other states with reported cases of people who fell ill after receiving the injections — primarily for back pain — are Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina and Indiana.

Vials of steroids linked to the outbreak were shipped to 76 facilities in 23 states and could have been used to inject thousands of patients, authorities have said.

No other products have been implicated in this outbreak, the Maryland health department said. The New England Compounding Center has recalled a number of other products, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration have advised all health care facilities with products from the company to stop using them.

Maryland health officials have said they might find more cases and are monitoring admissions to hospitals and urgent care centers. DHMH said people who received an injection at one of the seven centers should contact their health care provider if they have new or worsening symptoms of stroke or meningitis, including fever, headache, neck stiffness, photophobia, nausea or vomiting.

Meningitis is an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

In the two previous Maryland cases the incubation period for the infections has been between two days and four weeks, but it's possible the period could be even longer for some victims, Dr. Lucy Wilson, chief of Maryland's infection prevention and outbreak response program, said Friday. Health officials are basing their estimate on the existing cases, but it could change, Wilson said.

Baltimore Sun reporter John-John Williams, the Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this article.

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