The Straits Times
Published on Oct 09, 2012

US death toll rises to 8 in tainted drug outbreak


WASHINGTON (AFP) - The death toll from a worsening meningitis outbreak tied to a contaminated drug has risen to eight while the number of people sickened in the United States (US) is up to 97, health officials said on Monday.

Cases have been identified in nine states, with the hardest-hit being Tennessee, where 35 people have been diagnosed with the fungal infection and four have died, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention said.

Michigan is the second-most infected state, with 21 cases and two deaths, so far. Cases have also been noted in a vast region spanning Florida, Maryland and Minnesota.

In its latest bulletin, the CDC urged doctors to "actively contact" any patients who received doses of the potentially contaminated steroid injection - typically used to treat back pain - as far back as May 21.