U.S. meningitis deaths rise to 15
The Associated Press
Posted: Oct 14, 2012 12:32 PM ET
Last Updated: Oct 14, 2012 12:28 PM ET
U.S. health officials have raised the death toll from a fungal meningitis outbreak to 15 with almost 200 people infected.
A second person has died in Indiana after receiving a tainted steroid injection for back pain, state and federal health officials said Saturday.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the second death on its website and said three additional cases of the rare disease had been reported in Indiana, raising the state's total to 27. The outbreak has affected 13 states.
Indiana's cases involve patients at six health facilities that received a steroid recalled by a Massachusetts specialty pharmacy. Those clinics are in Elkhart, Evansville, Fort Wayne, South Bend, Terre Haute and Columbus.
Officials at the clinics in Elkhart and Terre Haute told The Associated Press that the second death was not linked to their facilities.
A spokeswoman for the clinic in Fort Wayne said earlier this week she did not believe any of the reported meningitis cases were contracted at her clinic because the current outbreak was spread through spinal injections, which her facility does not administer.
A spokeswoman at the Evansville clinic said she didn't know if the new death was one of its patients, and the clinics in South Bend and Columbus did not respond to phone calls Saturday.
Lisa Ann Durbin of Decatur, Mich., said Saturday her family was still awaiting results from her grandmother's autopsy. Pauline Burema, 89, of Cassopolis, Mich., died Wednesday at a daughter's home in Bristol, Ind.
Doctors told the family they think Burema contracted fungal meningitis from shots she received Aug. 22 and Sept. 8 at OSMC Outpatient Surgery Center in Elkhart.
As of mid-week, health authorities said they had tracked down 12,000 of the roughly 14,000 people who may have received contaminated steroid shots in a growing meningitis outbreak.
They warned that patients will need to keep watch for symptoms of the deadly infection for months.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include severe headache, nausea, dizziness and fever. Fungal meningitis is not contagious like the more common forms.
Fungus has been found in at least 50 vials of an injectable steroid medication made at a specialty compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts, investigators said. Health authorities haven't yet said how they think the medication was contaminated, but they have ruled out other suspects — other products used in administering the shots — and the focus continues to be on that pharmacy, the New England Compounding Center.
Last month, after illnesses began coming to light, the company recalled three lots of the steroid medicine — known as preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate— that were made in May, June and August. The recall involved about 17,700 single-dose vials of the steroid sent to clinics in 23 states.
Top News Headlines
- Greg Weston: Senate scandal may be Harper's worst hour
- Washington bridge collapse not Alberta trucker's fault, wife says
- The wife of the trucker implicated in Thursday's collapse of a bridge in Washington State that serves tens of thousands of commuters daily says her husband is not responsible for the incident. more »
- Canada ranks 3rd last in paid vacations
- Canada ranks third last among economically advanced countries in the amount of paid vacation time it guarantees its workers, a new U.S. study indicates. more »
- Canadian forecasters warn of active hurricane season
- Canadian forecasters are warning warmer-than-average ocean waters and the lack of an El Nino warming of the central Pacific Ocean will contribute to an "active" hurricane season this year. more »
Latest World News Headlines
- Assad regime agrees 'in principle' to Syrian peace talks
- The Syrian government has agreed "in principle" to attend a conference proposed by Russia and the United States on ending the country's civil war, Russia's Foreign Ministry say. However, Damascus has not issued a definitive statement on the talks. more »
- U.K. preps for possible copycat attacks after hacking death
- Britain is bracing for clashes with right-wing extremists and possible copycat attacks after the brutal slaying of a young soldier although an official say no specific threats had been detected. more »
- Man 'lucky to be alive' after Washington bridge collapse
- A Washington state bridge over a river collapsed last night, dumping two vehicles into the water and sparking a rescue effort by boats and divers who searched the chilly waterway north of Seattle. more »
- Jet with smoking engine lands safely at Heathrow
- A British Airways jet made an emergency landing at London's Heathrow Airport Friday after developing a technical problem after takeoff. TV footage showed smoke streaming from one of the engines. more »
- Pakistan aircraft incident rattles U.K.
- Two men have been arrested on suspicion of endangering an aircraft after a plane carrying more than 300 people from Pakistan to Britain was diverted from its original course Friday, officials say. more »
- Is any work being done at Toronto City Hall? May. 24, 2013 12:27 PM Many people in Toronto worry Rob Ford's notoriety and chaos in the mayor's office may have lasting consequences for the city.
- Rob Ford fired chief of staff for telling mayor to 'get help'
- Rob Ford allies set to take over if mayor steps down
- Man ‘lucky to be alive’ after Washington bridge collapse
- Greg Weston: Senate scandal may be Harper's worst hour
- Alleged Ford crack video seller not responding to calls
- Pickup truck backs up over mother, 2 children in tent
- Montreal lifts boil-water advisory
- Amanda Bynes arrested for allegedly tossing bong out window
- Canada Post campaigns against 'no flyers' mailbox signs