Meningitis scare has patients on edge


(CBS News) NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The deadly outbreak of meningitis has spread to six states. Thirty-five cases and five deaths have been reported.

The suspected source is tainted vials of steroids that were shipped to 23 states.

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Tennessee has the most cases, and Sue Manor hopes she doesn't become one of them.

"Honest to goodness, as time went on, I became more frightened," she said.

On Monday, Manor learned she might have been infected by the fungus in the contaminated steroids given for back pain.

She was told to look out for "headache, neck pain, vomiting, dizziness -- a lot of flu-like symptoms ... those could be anything."

Manor was one of the more than 700 patients who received injections at clinics affiliated with Saint Thomas Hospital in Nashville.

"I don't want this thing in my body," she said. "I feel like I want a cleanser. I want to pull it out, you know, get out of my body."

Dr. Robert Latham has examined 19 people who received injections. He saw three new meningitis cases Thursday.

"Yeah, they're all worried and rightfully so -- we've told then all this is very serious."

The Nashville clinics received 2,000 potentially contaminated vials from the Massachusetts company that makes the drug, New England Compounding Center. The company has received safety warnings from the Food and Drug Administration in the past, one time for mislabeling a drug.

The Centers for Disease Control is investigating how the drug became contaminated.

(Watch: CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook discusses why the meningitis outbreak is so dangerous.)

By injecting the tainted steroid into the lower back, the fungus can travel directly through the spinal fluid to the brain.

It normally takes between one and four weeks for meningitis symptoms to appear.

Saint Thomas Hospital has alerted more than 700 who have received these injections.

"I can't tell you yet at this point whether we're at the beginning the middle or the end," Dr. Lathan said. "I think we're probably at the middle. Hopefully at the end but there's no guarantee of that."

Manor says she does not blame the hospital where she was given the injection. CBS News learned Thursday that 17,000 doses have been recalled, but there's no word yet on how many of those were administered.