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46 Cases Of Fungal Meningitis, Other Fungal Infections Now Reported In New Jersey

Retracting syringes (file/photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

Retracting syringes (file/photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

CBS New York (con't)

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TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Health officials in New Jersey said a total of 46 cases of fungal meningitis and other fungal infections have now been reported in the state.

The cases, five confirmed and 41 considered probable, are linked to a recalled, potentially tainted steroid produced by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. Nationally, officials say more than 600 cases have been reported in 19 states, including 39 deaths.

Federal officials said 41 cases of fungal meningitis have been reported in New Jersey along with five cases of other spinal fungal infections.

State health officials said no one in New Jersey has died from the illness. Twelve patients remained hospitalized as of Saturday, and all of those sickened continued to recover.

Six more cases were recently announced by state health officials. They include a 60-year-old Salem woman, a 66-year-old Morris County man and four Cumberland County residents — a 64-year-old man and three women, ages 63, 70 and 77.

Health officials said previously that more than 600 patients in New Jersey received the steroid injection at six facilities across the state between May 21 and September 26, and nearly all of them have been notified that they may be at risk for contracting the illness.

This type of meningitis has an incubation period of one to four weeks after receiving a tainted injection.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms like headache, nausea, dizziness and fever appear one to four weeks after getting the injection.

The type of fungal meningitis involved is not contagious and is treated with high-dose antifungal medications, usually given intravenously in a hospital.

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