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Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Toll Now 28 Dead, 363 Sickened
Date:10/30/2012

By Steven Reinberg and Margaret Steele
HealthDay Reporters

TUESDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- As compounding pharmacies at the heart of the ongoing meningitis outbreak are inspected and closed, the death toll rose to 28 on Tuesday, with 363 illnesses reported across 19 states.

Three new fatalities -- two from Michigan and one from Tennessee -- have occurred since the last tally issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday.

The latest numbers come days after Massachusetts officials closed a second compounding pharmacy after inspection revealed conditions that might threaten the sterility of its products.

According to The New York Times, Waltham, Mass.-based Infusion Resource voluntarily surrendered its license over the weekend after inspectors found "significant issues with the environment in which medications were being compounded," Dr. Madeleine Biondolillo, director of the Bureau of Health Care Safety and Quality at the Massachusetts Public Health Department, said at a press briefing.

While she did not release details of what the inspection found, Biondolillo did say that patients had been receiving intravenous medications at the pharmacy, violating state law.

The pharmacy shutdown followed news of unsanitary conditions at the Framingham, Mass., facility of New England Compounding Center, the plant at the center of the ongoing meningitis outbreak. On Friday, federal investigators said their tour of the plant found foreign, "greenish-black" material in some vials of the injectable steroid suspected as the cause of the illnesses.

The contaminated product was one of a host of potential violations discovered during a recent inspection of the New England Compounding Center's plant in Framingham, Mass., U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials said during a Friday press briefing.

"The investigators observed approximately 100 vials of the steroid drug,
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