CDC says number of confirmed U.S. meningitis cases rises to 47

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Oct 5 (Reuters) - The number of people stricken with a rare form of meningitis linked to steroid injections rose to 47 in seven U.S. states, the Centers for Disease Control said on Friday, but the number of people killed by the outbreak remained at five.

In its latest update on the spread of fungal meningitis, the CDC said the first four cases were confirmed in Michigan, the seventh state hit by the widening outbreak.

Other states with cases are Tennessee, Virginia, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina and Indiana.

The 47 cases confirmed so far compare with 35 on Thursday. Tennessee accounts for most of those and on Friday state officials said the number had risen to 29 cases, up four from Thursday.

Vials of steroids linked to the outbreak were shipped to 23 states and could have been used to inject thousands of patients, mostly to relieve back pain, authorities have said.

(Reporting By Tim Ghianni; Writing by Greg McCune)