The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says 19 more people have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis across the United States, bringing the total number of cases to 231.
The CDC said on Tuesday that the death toll from the extraordinary outbreak, which has been linked to contaminated steroid from New England Compounding Center specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts, remained unchanged at 15.
There were two other cases of infection in joints after a steroid injection but they were not confirmed as meningitis, the CDC added.
The CDC announced that it found the new cases of fungal meningitis in Tennessee (6), Florida (2), Indiana (2), Maryland (1), Michigan (1), New Hampshire (2), New Jersey (2), Ohio (2), and Virginia (1).
The contaminated steroid is feared to have been issued from the center in Massachusetts in more than 17,000 vials to more than 20 states and used by almost 14,000 people. The pharmacy has been shut down and its products recalled.
An investigation into the outbreak began in September. US Lawmakers are now calling for tighter regulation of the country’s pharmaceutical industry.
A Press TV correspondent in Washington said last week that “the outbreak is highlighting a well-known practice in America where physicians and clinics are increasingly getting material from compounding pharmacies that sell drugs at a much lower cost than major drug manufacturers, creating customized medication solutions for patients.”
“According to the International Academy of Compounding [Pharmacists], an estimated 56,000 US pharmacies across the country practice compounding,” the Press TV correspondent added.
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