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Fungal meningitis outbreak worries Minn. patient

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota woman injected with a steroid linked to an outbreak of fungal meningitis said Monday she's worried that her frequent head and neck pain means she has the disease.

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Melissa Stevens, of Maple Grove, was being tested Monday but said she didn't know when she'd learn the results. She received a steroid injection in August at a pain clinic that received a product linked to the outbreak. Minnesota has three of the 105 cases confirmed in nine states.

The 39-year-old weight-loss coach and fitness instructor has suffered headaches and neck pain since she was in car accident about five years ago. She said she knows those can also be symptoms of meningitis, and that she knows the difference between ordinary pain and the increased pain she's experienced lately.

"My headaches have been very frequent and quite intense," Stevens said.

Adding to her worries, she said, is that that her neck pain, which had been limited mostly to her left side, has recently affected the right side of her neck.

"Hopefully unrelated, but worth checking out," she said.

State officials were trying Monday to finish contacting everyone on an updated list of 831 people who might have been injected with the recalled steroid, said Buddy Ferguson, a spokesman for the Minnesota Department of Health. Some did not have functioning phone numbers, and roughly 100 voicemail messages left since late last week have not been returned, he said.

The Minnesota health care providers known to have used the implicated steroid are Medical Advanced Pain Specialists in Edina, Fridley, Shakopee and Maple Grove, and the Minnesota Surgery Center in Edina and Maple Grove.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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