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US meningitis outbreak: 2 more drugs added to investigation

October 15, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two more drugs have been added to an investigation into a specialty pharmacy linked to a meningitis outbreak, U.S. health officials said Monday.

The new investigation was prompted by the Federal Drug Administration following two developments in the menigitis scare. The first was a meningitis report from a patient who got another type of steroid made by the New England Compounding Center; the second came from two heart transplant patients who got fungal infections after being given a third product from the same company during surgery.

The Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center has been under scrutiny since September after a rare fungal form of meningitis was linked to the company's steroid shots, which are used mostly for back pain.

The illnesses are being looked into. FDA officials say it is also a possibility that the heart patients were infected by another source. FDA officials did not indicate whether fungal meningitis was involved in the new report.

The current outbreak has sickened 214 people, including 15 who have died. The FDA has urged doctors to contact patients who received any sort of injection from the company. As of last week, 12,000 of the roughly 14,000 people who received steroid shots had been contacted, according to health officials.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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