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State

'Probable' meningitis case reported in Illinois

(MCT) — Illinois may have its first case of fungal meningitis linked to possibly tainted vials of a steroid medication that is blamed for 15 deaths across the country, state and federal health officials said Saturday.

The person is a Chicago resident who has "signs of meningitis," said Melaney Arnold, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health, calling the case "probable."

The person received an injection of the possibly tainted medication at a Chicago-area health care facility, Arnold said. The person is being treated in a hospital, but Arnold said she could not provide additional information about the person's condition, age or gender and could not identify the facility that administered the injection.

The person is undergoing tests to confirm whether his or her case is definitely linked to the outbreak, Arnold said.

The total number of people across the country stricken with meningitis in the outbreak reached 201 Saturday, up 17 from Friday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, there is one case of a non-meningitis infection after an injection in an ankle, a CDC spokesman said.

The latest death was reported in Indiana, bringing the death toll in that state to two, according to the CDC.

The outbreak has turned into a major health scandal after a company based in Massachusetts shipped possibly tainted vials of injectable steroid treatments for back and joint pain to 23 states and 76 medical facilities. More than 17,000 vials have been recalled.

The scare has prompted multiple investigations and the company, New England Compounding Center, has suspended operations.

Reuters contributed.

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