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Pa., Del. health officials join Monarch Medspa probe

Pennsylvania and Delaware health officials have joined a probe into Monarch Medspa after a deadly cluster of infections was discovered last month at its Timonium facility, Maryland health officials said Tuesday.

The cosmetic surgery chain has three Pennsylvania locations and one facility in Delaware. Officials in those states have warned medspa patients of the Maryland infections. They are seeking more possible cases, said Dr. Lucy Wilson, chief of Maryland's infection prevention and outbreak response, but Wilson could not report or confirm any infections in other states.

Monarch officials said in a statement they are awaiting reports from Pennsylvania health officials on two locations in that state; at a third, in Philadelphia, no health violations were found. All Monarch locations aside from the Timonium facility remain open.

A 59-year-old Lochearn woman died of an infection of a bacteria known as group A streptococcus after undergoing liposuction at the Timonium facility. Two other patients who received liposuction there also contracted infections. All three patients were treated in early September.

Maryland health officials shuttered the facility Sept. 19, and it remained closed Tuesday, Wilson said.

Officials also released a request for public comment on proposed draft legislation that would change how outpatient surgical centers are regulated under Maryland law. The facilities are not subject to state inspections or licensing, though the doctors and nurses who work in them must be board-certified. The comments are due by Oct. 26.

Monarch officials said each of the facilities complies with the requirements of the state in which it operates.

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