Meningitis Outbreak Continues to Spread

October 8, 2012 Updated Oct 8, 2012 at 7:43 AM EDT

By WKBW News

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October 8, 2012 Updated Oct 8, 2012 at 7:43 AM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Nearly 30 new cases are all believed to be linked to pain killing injections. some of those injections were sent here to New York State.

No reported cases of this deadly meningitis have surfaced here in New York State, but there is no promise it won't happen.

The company responsible for this is one of thousands of compound pharmacies that mix their own medicines but don't have to meet FDA safety standards for manufacturing drugs.

So far 91 cases have been reported, up from 64 on Saturday. Seven people have died.

Most of the new cases were reported in Michigan, where the total increased to 20 from eight. Virginia's total increased to 18 from 11. Investigators believe the illness was spread through steroid injections given to people as pain killers.

New York is one of 23 states where the injections were sent. A Rochester medical facility carrying the injections quickly pulled it from the shelves and notified patients.

ABC's Doctor Richard Besser explains how this is affecting victims.

"It usually causes problems in people with immune problems. But here, it was injected directly into the spine. It goes up to the brain, causes inflammation. And in some people, it actually caused a stroke," said Besser.

The steroid injections have been linked to a company based out of Massachusetts and all of the products have been recalled and are no longer being used.

Here's some more information on this outbreak. This fungal meningitis is not contagious. Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea and neurological problems, and symptoms begin to arise one to four weeks after the injection.

The company that made this injection has not only recalled this specific product but all medicines they produce as the CDC and FDA investigate.

This outbreak highlights a growing and troubling trend, pharmaceutical companies making and selling fake drugs, that many fear could lead to more outbreaks like this one.

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