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Three are dead, 25 sick in Michigan as fungal meningitis outbreak expands

Filed October 10th, 2012 Joshua Sophy

A contaminated injection drug has claimed the lives of three Michigan residents as a nationwide outbreak of fungal meningitis is tied to it.

According to recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 Michigan residents acquired fungal meningitis after they received a contaminated injection of methylprednisolone acetate. This drug is an epidural steroid and is delivered in the treatment of back pain and inflammation.

Michigan is one of ten states which have reported victims to be included in this growing outbreak. Federal officials indicate that 119 people are sick with fungal meningitis as a result of the contaminated drug and 11 people have died nationwide. Those totals are expected to increase as symptoms of the infection could take up to a month to develop.

A Wall Street Journal report this week indicates as many as 13,000 people received a potentially-compromised methylprednisolone acetate injection at a pain management center or other health care facility which allows compounded drugs to be used. Some states restrict use of compounded drugs, products that use two or more pharmaceuticals and are mixed at a lab before being distributed.

New England Compounding Center, in Framingham, Mass., is responsible for the methylprednisolone acetate injections linked to the recall. The company has temporarily ceased all operations and recalled any products that came from its facility there.

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