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More Than 90 People Sick With Meningitis; Pharmacy Linked To Outbreak Issues Wide Recall

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ATLANTA (AP) — Health officials say they have now confirmed more than 90 cases of a rare fungal meningitis that has been linked to a steroid commonly used to ease back pain.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted updated figures to its website Sunday. The death toll stood at 7, the same number as a day earlier. The outbreak is spread across nine states, the same states reported Saturday: Florida, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia.

The CDC figures show there are 91 cases in the U.S. altogether.

The steroid linked to the outbreak has been recalled, and health officials have been scrambling to notify anyone who may have received an injection of it. The Massachusetts pharmacy that made it has said it is cooperating with investigators.

The New England Compounding Center (NECC) has also issued a voluntary recall of all of its products. It announced the recall on Saturday. The company said in a news release that the move was taken out of an abundance of caution because of the risk of contamination. It says there is no indication that any other products have been contaminated.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had previously told health professionals not to use any products distributed by the center.

The CDC said there are now more than 90 confirmed cases of the rare form of fungal meningitis. The outbreak spans nine states and has killed at least seven people.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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