Michigan patient suffering from fungal joint infection, death toll at 14 in tainted steroid outbreak, CDC says

Published October 11, 2012

| Reuters

Health officials say 14,000 people may have received drugs linked to the national meningitis outbreak, and a Michigan patient is suffering from a fungal infection joint infection after receiving a steroid injection,  according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. 

Two more people have died from fungal meningitis, bringing the total to 14 deaths since the outbreak began last month, the CDC said Tuesday.

A total of 170 people have been stricken with a rare fungal meningitis in 11 states since the outbreak began, according to the latest CDC tally, up from 137 listed on Wednesday.

Florida reported its second death in the outbreak and Indiana its first death in the outbreak. The CDC also confirmed the first case in Idaho, the 11th state to report a case. Fungal meningitis cannot be transmitted from person-to-person.

The widening outbreak has alarmed U.S. health officials and focused attention on regulations of pharmaceutical compounding companies such as the one that produced the drugs, the New England Compounding Center Inc in Framingham, Massachusetts.

The steroid is used as a painkiller, usually to alleviate back pain.

Meningitis is an infection of the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Patients show a variety of symptoms including severe headaches and fever.

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