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Friday, October 5, 2012

Meningitis Outbreak: Warning Over Suspect Drugs

Doctors and hospitals have been urged to avoid all drugs from a chemist linked to an outbreak of a rare kind of meningitis that has killed five people in the US.

The outbreak is believed to linked to steroid medication produced by the New England Compounding Centre after investigators found contamination in a sealed vial, according to Food and Drug Administration officials.

"Out of an abundance of caution, we advise all health care practitioners not to use any product" from the company, said Ilisa Bernstein, director of compliance for the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

New England Compounding Centre recalled the steroid medication last week and has shut down operations but batches of the steroid, which is the common theme in all the reported illnesses, have been shipped to facilities in 23 states since July.

In Tennessee, the state with by far the most cases with 25, three of them fatal, many victims got steroid injections at the Saint Thomas Outpatient Neurosurgery Centre in Nashville, which had 2,000 vials of the drug.

That clinic closed voluntarily last month to deal with the investigation. Read More