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Published October 05, 2012, 08:36 PM

Local hospitals say they are not affected with the meningitis outbreak

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- A meningitis outbreak across seven states has been linked to five deaths and nearly 50 illnesses.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- A meningitis outbreak across seven states has been linked to five deaths and nearly 50 illnesses.

And now, 25-people in Minnesota are being evaluated for possible meningitis symptoms. But should you be concerned locally?

The outbreak stems from health care groups that used a certain contaminated steroid injection to treat back pain.

But both Sanford and Essentia Hospitals are reassuring all patients, they did not and do not use the east coast specialty pharmacy linked to the outbreak.

Joan Cook/Sanford Dir. of Infection Prevention: "The outbreak has been traced to a company back east that does compounding of the medication that was used. We do not purchase any of their product."

The drugs were prepared by the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts. The center has closed during the investigation and recalled all the steroids it produced.

Both Medical Advanced Pain Specialists and the Minnesota Surgery Center in the Twin Cities area have been linked to the outbreak. Potential cases could go back as far as July.

Fungal Meningitis symptoms include headache, fever, a stiff neck, sensitivity to light and pain at the injection sight. Local hospitals say they've already received numerous calls and their number one goal is to calm fears.

Cook says, "most of these facilities are doing look backs, contacting the patients directly, verifying that they don't have any symptoms that might be suggestive of meningitis."

No Minnesota cases have been identified yet, but if any are, patients would likely need to be hospitalized for treatment.

The fungal form of Meningitis is not contagious.

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