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Steroid tied to 119 meningitis cases, 11 deaths

If you or a loved one has been affected by the recall of the tainted steroid injections that cause meningitis, contact Attorney Dean Gresham immediately so you can protect your rights. Free initial consultation.

The AP (10/10, Stobbe) reports that the "number of people sickened by a deadly meningitis outbreak has now reached 119 cases, including 11 deaths," according to updates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted online Tuesday. New Jersey was the "10th state to report at least one illness"; and the other states with meningitis cases tied to the tainted steroid shots include "Tennessee, Michigan, Virginia, Indiana, Florida, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina and Ohio."

USA Today (10/10, Alcindor, Szabo) says the CDC update indicates meningitis "victims have died in four states: six in Tennessee, three in Michigan, and one each in Maryland and Virginia."

Bloomberg News (10/10, Edney) adds that of the 119 reported cases, "39 were in Tennessee, 25 in Michigan and 24 in Virginia." CDC spokesperson Curtis Allen said Tuesday that the majority of the estimated "13,000 people" who were administered the potentially contaminated steroid injection "will not get sick." But Allen noted that the agency still "expects more infections" tied to the tainted shot.

The Los Angeles Times (10/10, Muskal) says Federal health officials "have tied the meningitis outbreak to vials of steroids" produced by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) in Framingham, Massachusetts. CDC and Food and Drug Administration "officials said the steroid injections were used to combat back pain"; and an FDA inspection "discovered that at least one vial of the steroid had been contaminated by a fungus."

ABC News (10/10, Moisse) on its website notes that the outbreak of "aspergillus meningitis has been linked to an injectable steroid, called methylprednisolone acetate," produced by the NECC. The DC's Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases Division's Medical Officer, Dr. Benjamin Park, said that "If patients are concerned, they should contact their physician to find out if they received a medicine" from one of the recalled lots. Dr. Park said that most of the meningitis cases are occurring in "older adults," who, aside from back pain, are otherwise healthy. According to the CDC, 76 healthcare facilities and pain clinics "in 23 states" received the methylprednisolone acetate lots that are now under recall.

The Boston Globe (10/10, Kowalczyk) in its "White Coat Notes" blog reports that the CDC "said hospitals and doctors should contact patients who received injections for low back pain from three lots of preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate (80mg/ml)," which the NECC recalled on Sept. 26. The CDC also "moved back the time frame that caregivers began giving the potentially contaminated injections to May 21"; previously, the agency "said the injections began in July."

NBC News (10/10, Aleccia) in its "Vitals" blog notes that the NECC "has closed voluntarily, relinquished its state license and recalled its products, which include steroids, painkillers and dozens of other drugs," according to the FDA. The agency determined fungus was growing in "at least one sealed vial" of the drug. NBC noted that although the FDA "does not regulate" compounding pharmacies, it its often "called in when contamination is suspected."

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