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US meningitis cases leap to 91

10-08-2012 10:38 BJT

CCTV Correspondent Nina Donaghy

A meningitis outbreak is causing alarm across the United States. On Sunday, American health officials reported an additional 27 cases, bringing the new total to 91. Some of these patients are in critical condition. While the infection is not contagious, thousands of people could be affected after vials of tainted steroid injections were sent to clinics across the country.

Ninety one victims in 9 states and 7 deaths. 17,000 vials sold in 23 states to 75 medical clinics.

Those are the latest figures released by the US centers for Disease control Sunday - statistics that are rising.

Deaths in Tennessee, Virginia, Michigan Maryland, and new cases in Michigan, Indiana, Florida, Ohio and North Carolina. Victims are scattered right across the US.

The Centers for Disease control has recalled the suspect vials and told doctors to warn at risk patients, but right now the extent of this outbreak is still unknown. The latest statistics report 27 more cases in the past 24 hours with one death so far here in Maryland.

The steroid epidural injections that are the source of the outbreak are routine carried out in pain clinics across the US. But the fungal strain that’s causing the meningitis infection is rare.

Massachusetts based pharmaceutical firm New England Compounding Center is under suspicion for selling the contaminated vials. Production has shut down. But thousands of vials have already been used or circulated.

Meningitis causes inflammation of the brain and a barrage of severe symptoms. One of the victims is 71-year-old Janet Russell of Nashville Tennessee. Her daughter, Teresa Russell, described her suffering.

"She’s in ICU and she has headaches, she cannot eat, she cannot even take a sip of water and hold it down to take her medication orally, and she has been sick for a very long time now, more than any person should have to go through," she said.

The reach of this outbreak is becoming clearer. But as the symptoms of meningitis can be slow to emerge, the real scale of this outbreak is less so.

 

Editor:James |Source: CCTV.com

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