4 Dead, 26 Sick in Meningitis Outbreak

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By Ed Payne/CNN

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WTVF) -- A non-contagious form of meningitis has killed four people and sickened as many as 26 others.

Federal health officials fear the number of cases will increase.

All of those infected with the strain of meningitis received steroid injections for back pain. Three cases have been reported in Virginia, two each in Florida and Maryland and one in North Carolina.

At least 18 cases have been reported in Tennessee.

Sue Manor is waiting to find out if she too is infected. She's one of hundreds of patients who received injections at the Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Center in Nashville.

"I didn't really get into any state of fear or anything, I just thought, 'OK we're going to research this.' And of course the more I researched, the more worried I get," Manor said.

The Nashville facility contacted more than 700 patients who had spinal steroid injections between July 30 and September 20.

Manor says worrying and waiting for answers is the hardest part.

"I do wish that maybe they could bring patients together; we can have a physician perhaps who can answer these questions and put our minds at rest."

The main suspect in the outbreak? The steroid product used in the injections.

Federal health officials have identified the manufacturer and have issued a recall. But more cases are expected because it can take up to 28 days for the infection to develop.

According to the CDC, two people have died in Tennessee, one in Virgina and one in Maryland.

Symptoms for this type of meningitis include severe headache, nausea, dizziness and fever.

*For more information on meningitis, click HERE.