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TN Meningitis Death Toll Highest in Nation

8:52 AM, Dec 18, 2012   |    comments
(AP)
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By TOM WILEMON The Tennessean

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- With another life lost, Tennessee continues to be the state with the most deaths from the fungal meningitis outbreak.

Updated numbers released Monday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show 14 deaths -- one more than last week -- having occurred among people who received steroid epidurals in Tennessee with moldy medicine. Michigan has the second-most deaths with 10, followed by Indiana with seven.

The death occurred last week, said Woody McMillin with the Tennessee Department of Health. Indiana also reported an additional death.

Nationwide, the outbreak has now sickened 620 people, killing 39 of them. The number of sickened rose 5 percent from last week.

Tennessee's total case count is 124. Seventy-six of those cases are meningitis. Three of them are strokes in patients who received epidurals but did not have a lumbar puncture to diagnose meningitis. The others are injection site infections along the spinal column or infections in a peripheral joint.

Twelve new infections, all of them injection site illnesses, were reported from Tennessee over the past week.

The state with the most illnesses reported is Michigan with 223.

The source of the outbreak is preservative-free methylprednisolone acetate made by New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts. The medicine was recalled in late September.

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