FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (WWLP) - The number of people sickened by a nationwide meningitis outbreak has risen.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that seven deaths and more than 90 cases of a rare fungal meningitis has been linked to steroid shots used to treat back pain.
A steroid that was produced by The New England Compounding Center, a specialty pharmacy in Framingham, that makes custom medications.
"It kind of seems when it comes to pharmacies and stuff like that the government doesn't regulate it. You never know it could've been me, it could've been my kid it could've been my wife," Martin Irizarry said.
"My girlfriend had it and spent two weeks in the hospital. They told her if she would've waited any longer she would've passed away. They think she either got it in school. But her uncle also had it," Onairam Dross-Cortes said.
Unlike bacterial and viral meningitis fungal meningitis is not transmitted from person to person and only people who received the steroid injections are thought to be at risk.
It is rare in healthy people and is likely to infect someone with a weak immune system.
According to the CDC about 75 clinics in 23 states received the injections.
More than 17,000 vials of the steroids were shipped out before the recall.
It is still not clear how the fungus got into the medication.
Kimya Hedayat-Zadeh said, "I had no idea there was a Meningitis outbreak. It sounds like something people should be aware about. Hopefully no one else will be affected by the disease."
The steroid linked to the outbreak has been recalled.
Health officials say any patients who received an injection at one of the facilities beginning July 1 should see their doctor right away.