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CONTAMINATED BACK STEROID BLAMED FOR AT LEAST 28 PATIENT DEATHS

CONTAMINATED BACK STEROID BLAMED FOR AT LEAST 28 PATIENT DEATHS

The investigation into a deadly meningitis outbreak continues after a defective pharmaceutical killed over two dozen patients and sickened over 386. Authorities say that a fungus-contaminated steroid was shipped clinics in at least 23 states from a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts.

"On behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I want to express my deepest sympathy for each person and their loved ones impacted by this tragedy," said Madeleine Biondolillo, director of the Massachusetts Bureau of Healthcare Safety. "Please be assured that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and our partnering agencies are taking this situation very seriously, and will continue our swift action to ensure that the public is safe, until this situation is brought to an appropriate close."

Meningitis refers to the inflammation of the membranes of the brain and the spine. There are several types of meningitis including viral, bacterial, parasitic and fungal. Medical professionals recognize meningitis as a life-threatening disease because it impacts the brain and spine.

Fungal meningitis is not contagious but often difficult to treat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most typical treatments for fungal meningitis include long, high-dose courses of antifungal medication. The length of treatment for fungal meningitis varies and is usually dependant on the health of a patient. Patients with weakened immune systems due to AIDs, diabetes or cancer often require the most lengthy treatment courses.

Symptoms of fungal meningitis include headaches, high-sensitivity, fever and nausea.Source: KSTP-TV, "CDC: Meningitis Cases Reach 170, 14 People Die," Oct. 11, 2012

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