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Ohio Dept. of Health reports Hamilton County man victim of meningitis outbreak

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CINCINNATI - The Ohio Department of Health has linked two more cases of meningitis to tainted steroid injections distributed by the New England Compounding Center, including one case in Hamilton County.

The total number of cases in Ohio is now three, which includes an unnamed 65-year-old man from Springfield Township in Hamilton County. A 39-year-old woman from Morrow County and a 40-year-old woman from Crawford County have also contracted the disease.

Each of the patients is reported to have contracted fungal meningitis after receiving steroid shots for back and joint pain.

Hamilton County Public Health officials confirmed the Tri-State victim received an injection at Cincinnati Pain Management in Sycamore Township. He is currently receiving treatment at a local hospital, but no information on his condition has been released.

Over 200 patients at the Cincinnati Pain Management clinic have been contacted by Hamilton County Public Health. So far, the Springfield Township man in the only person in Hamilton County to have developed a confirmed case of fungal meningitis.

"Unfortunately, this is a very slow growing fungus," said Mike Samet of Hamilton County Public Health.

"It can show up anywhere from one to four weeks post injection, and in some cases, even longer than that depending on an individual's make-up and so on. We could be looking at this for a little while now," Samet said.

ODH says up to four clinics in Ohio received the tainted shot and a total of 422 patients have received steroid injections in the state. Of those patients, 419 have been contacted about the injections.

"This outreach and contact with healthcare providers needs to continue even if the patient is feeling well during the initial conversation. Because of the rare nature of this infection, no one is sure of the incubation period; we don't know how long after an injection it is safe to say you won't get sick," said ODH director Dr. Ted Wymyslo.

The government now says 170 people have been sickened in the meningitis outbreak linked to the tainted shots. A total of 14 of those people have died.

The New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts has recalled the steroid that was sent to clinics in 23 states, as well as everything else the lab makes. The pharmacy is currently the subject of multiple investigations.

Other states that have been impacted include Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Stay with 9 News and WCPO.com for updates on this developing story.

Copyright Copyright AP Modified, Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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