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U.S. meningitis deaths rise to 28

(Xinhua)

08:28, October 31, 2012

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- Three more people have died of fungal meningitis in an outbreak linked to tainted steroid injections, bringing the total number of deaths to 28, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Tuesday.

Two of the new deaths occurred in the state of Michigan, which now has reported seven fatalities, and one in Tennessee, which has confirmed 11 deaths, the CDC said. Both states were the hardest hit in the outbreak, first reported in Tennessee late last month.

The number of fungal meningitis cases reported across the United States rose to 356 on Tuesday, an increase of 9 from Monday, according to the CDC.

The outbreak has been linked to contaminated vials of an injectable steroid used to treat back and joint pain. Sealed vials of the steroid, made by the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts, contained exserohilum rostratum, a fungus found in soil and plants.

The CDC said that some 14,000 patients could be at risk of contracting meningitis.

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