INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Indiana has two more cases of fungal meningitis linked to injections of a recalled back pain steroid, bringing the state's total to 34.
The Indiana State Department of Health reported the new cases Wednesday. Two Indiana patients have died.
The state agency has released no details about the two deaths or the clinics they're linked to. Its policy is to withhold details about where the Indiana cases are located.
Relatives of 89-year-old Pauline Burema of Cassopolis, Mich., have said they believe she contracted the disease after receiving an injection at the OSMC Outpatient Surgery Center in Elkhart. Burema died Oct. 10, and the family has been awaiting autopsy results on the cause. A granddaughter has said the clinic has told its patients it had at least eight cases.
NEW YORK (AP) -- The fungus found in tainted steroid shots matches the one blamed in the national meningitis outbreak that has killed 20 people, federal health officials said Thursday.
Officials had previously said more than 50 unopened vials were contaminated with fungus, but they were doing more tests to determine the kind of fungus.
With Thursday's announcement, officials say they have confirmed the link between the outbreak and the maker of the steroids, New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass.
The specialty pharmacy has been at the center of a national investigation into more than 250 fungal meningitis cases, including at least 20 deaths.
The victims in the outbreak had all received steroid shots made by the company, mostly to treat back pain. The company last month recalled three lots of the steroid made since May.
The fungus was found in one batch made in August, according to the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC previously said all the illnesses so far had been tied to one lot.
The FDA and CDC said Thursday that tests were continuing on the other two lots. As many as 14,000 people got shots from the three recalled lots.
The fungus in the vials -- Exserohilum rostratum-- is the same as that found in at least 40 people sickened with fungal meningitis, said the CDC's Mary Brandt, whose lab did the testing.
"We were able to link the organism in these vials to the organism in the patients," she said.
The FDA-CDC announcement did not say how many vials had that specific fungus.
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