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US meningitis outbreak death toll now 15

A vial of the steroid, Depo-Medrol, is shown in this undated file photo. The drug is at the center of a fungal meningitis outbreak.

October 13, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The death toll from the nationwide meningitis outbreak has now risen to 15, according to federal health officials.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the rare fungal meningitis outbreak has sickened 197 people in a 13 states, with Illinois as the latest state reporting cases. The other states affected include Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Tennessee has reported the most cases, with 52 sickened and six deaths.

The outbreak was linked to steroid shots used for back pain made by Massachusetts-based pharmacy New England Compounding Center. a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. The pharmacy has recalled everything it makes.

Some 600 patients in California received the steroid shots, but so far, there have been no fungal meningitis cases in the state. Clinics in Encino, Palmdale and Ukiah contacted patients who were given the steroid.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.