Posted at: 10/17/2012 5:39 PM
By: James Wilcox
New Cases of Meningitis in Minnesota
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- The Minnesota Department of Health has confirmed two new cases of fungal meningitis, raising the state's total from the national outbreak linked to tainted steroids to seven.
The two new cases are a man in his 50's and a woman in her 40's. Both were hospitalized, but more information on them and their conditions was not immediately available.
The pair is among around 985 patients associated with six pain and surgical clinics in Minnesota that received injectable steroids linked to the fungal meningitis outbreak that were produced by the New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass. Almost all those patients have been contacted.
On Tuesday, the health department began contacting 129 clinics in Minnesota identified as receiving other suspect drugs from the pharmacy. The FDA is concerned that other injectible drugs, not just the steroids, that came from the pharmacy could be tainted.
"With this broader announcement of the FDA, there's no specific connection between the drugs and any illness. We have some associations where it looks like there might be some connection, but really the FDA and all of us are being very proactive in saying we're going to reach as far out as we can," says Assistant State Epidemiologist Richard Danila.
The FDA is investigating two other drugs used in open heart surgeries and eye surgeries. If you're concerned about symptoms or worried about injections you've received since May of 2011, you're asked to contact your doctor and not the Minnesota Department of Health.
Nationwide, four more people have died from the fungal meningitis linked to the tainted steroid shots. That brings the total number of deaths to 19. 247 people have gotten sick in 15 states.