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October 11, 2012

CDC: 15 Indiana meningitis cases tied to steroid

INDIANAPOLIS — Federal health officials say the number of Indiana cases of fungal meningitis linked to a tainted back pain medication has risen to 15.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday added three more confirmed cases to the 12 previously known. It says the number of people nationwide sickened by the outbreak now has reached 137 cases, including 12 deaths.

No deaths from the outbreak have been reported in Indiana.

Indiana’s cases involve patients at six Indiana health facilities that received a recalled steroid produced by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. Wabash Valley Surgery Center, on the Union Hospital campus at Terre Haute, was one of those six facilities. So far, no one who was administered the drug at the Surgery Center has presented with symptoms.

“We have nobody in Terre Haute who has contracted meningitis,” Union Hospital spokesperson Kim Perkins told the Tribune-Star on Wednesday.

The number of cases nationwide continues to climb. As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, the CDC is reporting 137 cases — 15 of which are in Indiana — involving health facilities in 10 states. A dozen people have died.

The other Indiana clinics are in Elkhart, Evansville, Fort Wayne, South Bend and Columbus.

Indiana health officials have said about 1,500 people in the state are known to have received injections of the drug.

The Tribune-Star contributed to the report.

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