Wires

UPDATE 1-Death toll from US meningitis outbreak rises to seven

* Two deaths reported in Michigan

* Ohio and Minnesota latest to report cases

(Updates death toll, number of people, states affected)

By Tim Ghianni

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Oct 6 (Reuters) - The death toll from awidening outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to steroidinjections has risen to seven, with 65 cases now reported innine states, officials said on Saturday.

The latest two deaths were reported on Saturday in Michigan,according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control andPrevention.

Those affected fell ill after receiving steroid injectionslinked to a pharmaceutical compounding plant in Massachusetts.

New cases in Ohio and Minnesota on Saturday brought to ninethe number of states affected, officials said.

Other states with reported cases of people who fell illafter receiving the injections - primarily for back pain - areMichigan, Tennessee, Virginia, Florida, Maryland, North Carolinaand Indiana.

Meningitis is an infection of the membranes covering thebrain and spinal cord.

Vials of steroids linked to the outbreak were shipped to 76facilities in 23 states and could have been used to injectthousands of patients, authorities have said.

As in other states where the outbreak has been detected,Minnesota authorities are trying to determine who else may havebeen infected at six locations known to have used the drugs inquestion, said Buddy Ferguson, public information officer forthe state's Department of Health.

"We have identified a list of approximately 950 people whodid receive injectable steroids from the implicated lots," hesaid, adding authorities were in the process of contacting eachpatient.

Tennessee, where the outbreak was first detected, accountsfor most of the cases, with 29, state officials said on Friday.

Three of the deaths have been in Tennessee, and one each inVirginia and Maryland.

In Tennessee, many patients remain hospitalized, some listedin critical condition.

The infected patients have shown a variety of symptoms fromone to four weeks after their injections, including fever, a newor worsening headache, nausea and neurological problems thatwould be consistent with deep brain stroke, the CDC said.

All the cases have been traced to three lots of the steroidprepared at New England Compounding Center Inc in Framingham,Massachusetts. The company said it had suspended its operationswhile the investigation proceeds.

The Massachusetts Health Department said there were 17,676vials of medication in each of three lots of methylprednisoloneacetate sent out from July through September and have a shelflife of 180 days.

So far, the tally of cases includes 29 in Tennessee, 11 inVirginia, eight in Michigan, five in Indiana, four in Florida,three in Maryland, two in North Carolina, two in Minnesota andone in Ohio.

The steroid was sent to 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, the CDC said.

A list of facilities that received vials from the infectedlots can be found online via the website cdc.gov.

(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst, Corrie MacLaggan and Peter Cooney)

((ellen.wulfhorst@thomsonreuters.com)(646-223-6283)(Reuters

Messaging: ellen.wulfhorst.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: HEALTH MENINGITIS/