ST. PAUL, Minn. - 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.
Spokesman Buddy Ferguson says the two new cases are a man in his 50s and a woman in her 40s. He says both were hospitalized, but more information on them and their conditions was not immediately available Wednesday.
He says they were 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 department began contacting 129 clinics in Minnesota identified as receiving other suspect drugs from the pharmacy.
Nationally, health officials say four more people have died in the national meningitis outbreak, bringing the number of deaths to 19.
The deaths are among the 247 people in 15 states sickened in the outbreak, which has been tied to steroid shots for back pain. Most have a rare fungal form of meningitis. Two have joint infections.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the count on Wednesday. There were two more deaths reported in Tennessee and one each in Florida and Virginia.
The CDC also said test results so far show infections with three kinds of fungus. Most were a form of black mold.
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