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Posted on Wed, Oct 10, 2012 : 4:53 p.m.

Fungal meningitis case count growing in Michigan

By Amy Biolchini

The number of fungal meningitis cases has increased again in Michigan, state and national health officials reported Wednesday afternoon.

From Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday afternoon, the Michigan Department of Community Health had confirmed four new cases of meningitis, raising the overall count to 29 cases including three deaths.


A vial of the steriod manufactured by the New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts that is under investigation by the CDC.

AP photo

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday afternoon that Michigan's case count was at 28, including three deaths.

The state health department could not explain the discrepancy.

Since the Michigan Department of Community Health confirmed the first six cases of meningitis linked to a contaminated steroid Friday, the case count has continued to increase each day as doctors and physicians have worked to identify cases and notify patients. All the patients infected with meningitis are believed to have received contaminated steroid shots for back pain.

Wednesday morning, hospital officials from St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor reported its case count had risen from the 18 reported the day before to 22.

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One of those cases was fatal: A patient who had been discharged from the hospital before the fungal outbreak was identified and placed in hospice care later died, hospital officials said Tuesday.

The CDC is working closely with state health departments across the country to help identify patients who may have come into contact with a batch of steroids tainted with fungus that were manufactured at the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass.

The steroids were used as injections for joint and back pain. When administered as an epidural, the contaminated steroid put patients at risk for contracting fungal meningitis.

The state health department reported that shipments of the contaminated steroids were sent to four Michigan facilities.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Thu, Oct 11, 2012 : 12:57 a.m.

Whew! Good thing Engler made it illegal to sue the providers of tainted medication otherwise those people might be held accountable for the deaths they caused!


Thu, Oct 11, 2012 : 1 p.m.

Michigan law may not apply in this case, since the alleged drug was not manufactured under FDA approval. Michigan law generally prohibits product liability lawsuits against manufacturers of FDA-approved drugs.