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Health Picture of Health

Maryland reports second death in meningitis outbreak

A second person has died in Maryland in connection with a fungal meningitis outbreak tied to tainted steroid injections that has resulted in hundreds of infections across the country, according to new statistics released Monday.

In all, 25 cases have been identified in the state, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Details of the death were not immediately available.

The first Maryland death was reported in October.

Nationally, a total of 590 cases have been identified and 37 people have died in the outbreak, which involves patients who received steroid injections tied to the distributor New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass.

The company allegedly produced contaminated medications and shipped vials to clinics across the country, including in Maryland, officials have said. The company has since shut down.

Patients received the steroids through spinal injections to treat back pain.

Meningitis is an infection that inflames a person's meninges, membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Fungal meningitis is rare and cannot travel from person to person.

In addition to Maryland, deaths have occurred in Florida, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, the CDC said.

A spokeswoman with the state's health department confirmed the second death and said more information would be available Tuesday.

krector@baltsun.com

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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