(Reuters) - A steroid medication linked to the death of at least five people from rare fungal meningitis may have been administered to patients in 23 states, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said on Thursday, raising fears the rare outbreak could spread.
"We are encouraging all health facilities to immediately cease use of any product produced by NECC," Dr. Madeleine Biondolillo, Massachusetts public health director of safety, told reporters in a conference call from Boston.
The steroid is administered to patients, usually by injection, primarily to control back pain.
n addition to the 25 cases so far in Tennessee, one has been reported in North Carolina, two in Florida, four in Virginia, two in Maryland and one in Indiana, according to CDC's Park.
About 75 facilities could have received the steroid in the 23 states. They are California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Texas and West Virginia, according to Park.