Maybe a glimmer of hope that the meningitis numbers will stop rising in the near future: Federal health officials said they've tracked down more than 90% of the roughly 14,000 people who may have received contaminated steroid shots. Of the 170 people sickened in the outbreak, all but one have a rare fungal meningitis, and 14 have died, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today.
More than 50 vials of the steroid produced by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts, the New England Compounding Center, have been found contaminated with some sort of fungus, says the FDA. The investigation is continuing into how the contamination could have occurred, though the company has had trouble before. The New York Times today puts a face on the problem with a profile of a 56-year-old Tennessee woman who died. One wrenching detail: She had been helping care for her husband, who has Lou Gehrig's disease.