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Meningitis-linked steroid shots given to 13,000 US patients: CDC

Published on Oct 9, 2012 11:25 AM
Pharmaceutical compounding company New England Compounding Center (NECC), a producer of the steroid methylprednisolone acetate, is seen in Framingham, Massachusetts October 8, 2012. The drug has been linked to a rare form of meningitis that has so far killed eight people. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (REUTERS) - About 13,000 people in 23 US states may have received steroid injections linked to a rare fungal meningitis outbreak that has killed eight people, but far fewer are likely to contract the disease, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Monday.

It was the first time the CDC has given an estimate of the number of patients potentially affected, having previously said only that it could be in the thousands.

So far, 105 cases of the rare form of meningitis have been confirmed in nine states. In worst-hit Tennessee another person has died, bringing the national death toll to eight, the CDC and Tennessee state authorities said on Monday.

The Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Centre in Nashville received about 2,000 of the 17,676 vials of potentially tainted steroid, more than any other facility in the country, said Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner.

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