(Reuters) – A fungal meningitis outbreak linked to contaminated steroid injections expanded to 15 states on Monday as Pennsylvania reported its first case of the disease that has killed 15 people nationwide.
The Pennsylvania patient, who received an epidural steroid injection in July from medications supplied by New England Compounding Center (NECC) of Framingham, Massachusetts, is being treated in a hospital, the Pennsylvania Department of Health said.
The new case means that all but eight of the 23 states that received suspect medications from the Massachusetts specialist pharmacy have reported at least one case of fungal meningitis, a rare and deadly disease that has proven difficult to treat.
Over the weekend the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said its tally of cases, which sometimes lags reports from state health departments, showed 205 people stricken with the disease after receiving injections. Illinois and New Hampshire reported their first cases.
The suspect lots of steroid were shipped to 76 facilities in 23 states, including two locations in Pennsylvania.
“We have been working directly with the clinics to ensure that patients who received these injections are monitored and receive any necessary follow-up,” said Acting Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Michael Wolf.
Health authorities believe that nearly 14,000 people nationwide received injections from the potentially contaminated medication.