PORTLAND The steroid medication linked to 11 deaths across the country was never shipped to Oregon, according to the state s public health division.

At least 119 cases of fungal meningitis have been tracked to the steroid medication, which was made by a specialty pharmacy.

Tennessee has the most cases, followed by Michigan, Virginia, Indiana, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina and Ohio. New Jersey was the 10th state to report an illness. There have been no reports in Oregon of cases of fungal meningitis or strokes linked to the outbreak.

Of the confirmed cases, all of the victims had received shots for back pain. Shortly after, about 17,700 single-dose vials of the steroid sent to 23 states were recalled. Inspectors found at least one sealed vial contaminated with the fungus, and tests were being done on other vials.

The first known case of the rarely seen fungal meningitis was diagnosed last month in Tennessee. The steroid maker, New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass., has since recalled everything it makes.

While there is no indication at this time of any contamination in other NECC products, this recall is being taken as a precautionary measure, the company said in a statement.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord, and a back injection would put any contaminant in more direct contact with that lining.

Symptoms on meningitis include severe headache, nausea, dizziness and fever. The CDC said many of the cases have been mild and some people had strokes. Symptoms have been appearing between one and four weeks after patients got the shots.

Fungal meningitis is not contagious like the more common forms. The two types of fungus linked so far to the outbreak are all around, but very rarely causes illness. Fungal meningitis is treated with high-dose antifungal medications, usually given intravenously in a hospital.

Read or Share this story: