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More Than 500 Sickened in Fungal Meningitis Outbreak

Filed November 27th, 2012 admin

The fungal meningitis outbreak resulting from tainted steroids produced by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) has now infected over 500 people.

The number of cases in the outbreak has expanded to 510, including 36 deaths. The total includes 496 cases of central nervous system infection and 14 cases of peripheral joint infections, Medpage Today said, citing an update provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Michigan has reported the most illnesses with 178 cases and 10 deaths. Tennessee has reported 84 cases and 13 fatalities, while Indiana and Virginia have reported 57 and 51 cases, respectively.

The meningitis outbreak was first identified in late September, when Tennessee doctors began treating a man for a rare form of meningitis that did not seem to have a bacterial or viral cause, Medpage Today said. Doctors eventually found evidence of a fungal infection with the mold Aspergillus. An investigation linked injections of a steroid, methylprednisolone acetate, to the first few reported cases of meningitis. The steroid was injected into the spines of patients who were looking to control chronic back pain, Webpage Today said.

Shortly after the outbreak was reported, NECC and a sister company, Ameridose, of Westborough, Mass, recalled all of their products. There has also been intense debate in Washington D.C. between lawmakers and regulators about how compounding pharmacies are regulated and what can be done to avoid future outbreaks, said Webpage Today.

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