BOSTON (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) Health officials updated the number of those exposed to shots from the New England Compounding Center to 14,000 across 23 states on Thursday. Those exposed received medication in the form of a steroid in their joints or back.
Confirmed cases of meningitis have climbed to 170 with 14 deaths in 11 states.
Officials also announced one reported joint infection in a patient's ankle. They could not say whether or not the infection is the result of fungal meningitis as testing was not completed on Thursday.
New tests show that the infection found in 10 people was the result of a different fungi than the type found in the first person health officials tested. An official from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that they've never seen this form of fungi as a cause of meningitis before. CDC officials are recommending a new, broader form of treatment as a result of the newly discovered fungi.
Madeleine Biondolillo of the Mass. Department of Public Health told media outlets on Thursday that state health officials sent an alert to all compounding pharmacies in the wake of the meningitis outbreak linked back to NECC in Framingham. Health officials are asking Mass. compounding pharmacies to sign an affidavit related to their compliance with state regulations.
Biondolillo says that the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy license issued to NECC allowed the facility to deliver compounded products in response to individual patients' specific prescription. She says that preliminary results of an ongoing investigation suggest that they violated that regulation in spite of claiming that to abide by it.
Biondolillo added that the Department of Public Health does not track the volume of medication that is created and distributed. She is calling on Congress to act so that health officials can set into place new regulations.
As of Thursday, a total of 50 vials collected at the NECC facility and clinics across the country tested positive for fungus. Health officials are investigating all possible sources of the fungus, including individual ingredients.
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