The number of people who have died from a 15-state outbreak of noncontagious fungal meningitis has risen to 19, up four from Saturday, the Centers for Disease Control said Wednesday.
The cases have been linked to injections of a contaminated steroid produced by the New England Compounding Center. Some 14,000 people may have received the injections, the CDC estimated last week.
The number of fungal meningitis cases associated with the injections has risen to 245 - 12 more than Tuesday, the CDC says. Two people also have contracted peripheral joint infections; neither has died, according to the CDC.
Members of Congress are involved in an investigation of the outbreak.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. It is usually caused by an infection, frequently with bacteria or a virus, but it can also be caused by less common pathogens, such as fungi in this case, according to the CDC. Fungal meningitis is very rare and, unlike viral and bacterial meningitis, is not contagious.
Sixty-one cases have been reported in Tennessee, with 48 in Michigan, 37 in Virginia and 32 in Indiana. Cases also have been reported in Florida (13); Idaho (one); Illinois (one); Maryland (16); Minnesota (seven); New Hampshire (six); New Jersey (12); North Carolina (two); Ohio (nine); Pennsylvania (one); and Texas (one).