The Tennessee Department of Health said Thursday there are now 107 people impacted with fungal meningitis associated with tainted steroid injections, an increase of 23 cases since Thanksgiving.
There are no additional deaths to the 13 that have already occurred in Tennessee.
The nation-wide outbreak centers on tainted steroid injections shipped to three clinics in Tennessee from New England Compounding Center.
Health officials said Thursday there is an increased concern with infections at the site of where the injections occurred, which can develop into meningitis.
Those infections aren't usually life-threatening if caught and cleaned surgically, said officials. Some of the patients developed this in addition to the earlier meningitis.
"As of today, we have identified 23 persons who have developed these less serious infections at or near the site of their MPA injections. The early identification of these infections, made possible by a strong collaborative effort by clinicians, our department and the CDC, has helped several individuals get effective treatment at an earlier stage, thereby fending off a more serious illness," said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner.
Warning signs include pain at the injection site, problems with bowel or bladder control and numbness. The problem presents itself beneath the surface of the skin, so it's often not apparent to patients.
These new infections lengthen the window of risk for patients who received the epidural injections. The state re-activated resources and followed up with the previously identified patients to see if anyone was having problems.
"We continue to be vigilant about this. We don't want people to panic about it. The end of the risk period, frankly, is not known," said Dreyzehner.
As of Thursday morning, the department believes it has contacted most of the patients.
It's unclear how many new cases of localized infections will occur. Nationally, the longest reported infection occurred 120 days after the last injection.
Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.