Texas among states with drug linked to meningitis outbreak

Texas is among 23 states that received shipments of a steroid used to treat back pain but is now linked to a rare fungal meningitis outbreak.

The outbreak has killed at least five and sickened 35 people, but none in Texas.

Christine Mann is a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services. She confirms the painkiller produced by the New England Compounding Center was shipped to Texas.

She says the agency is looking for cases linked to the product but couldn't confirm any so far.

The Framingham, Mass.-based company has recalled three lots of the drug.

Meningitis is inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. People with weak immune systems are more at risk. Symptoms include nausea, sensitivity to light and altered mental status.

A spokesperson for Scott & White Healthcare, a major health care provider in Central Texas, said that while they did not receive any of the identified contaminated medicine, they have removed and replaced all medicine from the manufacturer as a precaution.

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