Meningitis outbreak spreads in US as number of confirmed infections hits 91

Sunday, October 7, 2012
By Paul Martin

Seven dead after spinal injections traced to Massachusetts pharmacy that operated with little federal oversight

Karen McVeigh
Guardian.co.uk
Sunday 7 October 2012

The number of people who have contracted a rare and deadly form of meningitis from a contaminated steroid injection has almost doubled over the weekend, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

A total of seven people have now died of the illness, two of them between Friday and Saturday.

Hospitals and clinics have been alerted to contact patients who have received a spinal injection made by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, Massachusetts, to check them for possible symptoms of the illness. It is unclear how many could potentially be affected, but it could be thousands.

About 17,700 single-dose vials of the steroid were covered in the recall.

On Sunday, the CDC said there were now 91 confirmed cases, up 44 from Friday’s total. The patients had received a shot of steroid for back pain, a common treatment.

It could be weeks before any of the patients, several of whom have had strokes related to the meningitis, are in the clear.

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