The Straits Times
Published on Oct 18, 2012

US meningitis deaths rise, FDA faces new questions


WASHINGTON/BOSTON (REUTERS) - The death toll from a United States (US) meningitis outbreak linked to contaminated steroids jumped to 19 on Wednesday, while US lawmakers pressed federal health regulators to explain what they knew about the pharmacy that produced the drugs.

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said four more deaths had been confirmed in the last 24 hours, including two in Tennessee, the state hardest hit with eight deaths since the infections were discovered in late September.

Virginia and Florida each reported one new death.

The number of new cases of fungal meningitis linked to steroid injections from the New England Compounding Centre rose by 14 to 245, the CDC said in its latest daily update. Two additional infections have not been confirmed as meningitis.