Twenty-three people have now died and 284 have been sickened in the nationwide meningitis outbreak apparently tied to contaminated steroid injections, U.S. health officials reported Saturday.
The count stood at 21 deaths and 271 infections on Friday.
Federal health officials said Thursday that fungus found in steroid injections produced by a Massachusetts specialty pharmacy matched the fungus linked to the outbreak. The officials said they’d confirmed the presence of the fungus, Exserohilum rostratum, in unopened vials of a steroid produced by the New England Compounding Center.
The vial came from one of three lots recalled by the Framingham-based company last month, officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.
The steroid, methylprednisolone acetate, is injected into patients for back and joint pain. The company has since shut down operations and stopped distributing its products, health officials said.
The CDC and state health departments estimate that roughly 14,000 patients may have gotten steroid injections from the three lots, and nearly 97 percent of them have been contacted for medical follow-up.
Meningitis is a potentially fatal inflammation of the lining surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
Read the rest of this story on usnews.com