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December 18, 2014

State says 129 Minn. clinics purchased drugs with potential for infection

Minnesota health officials say 129 clinics throughout the state purchased drugs from a Massachusetts pharmacy that is under investigation for distributing tainted steroids, the Star Tribune reports.

State officials don’t know how many people received drugs made by the company but are in the process of contacting each clinic.

The number of clinics affected in the state has increased significantly since federal officials expanded the list of medications that are feared to potentially carry a meningitis risk.

Food and Drug Administration officials on Monday said a second steroid has been linked to a possible case of fungal meningitis, and that a heart surgery drug and all injectable medications made by Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center (NECC), are now suspect. The new warning is based on only two cases, and officials don’t know definitively that the company’s drugs had caused the infections, the New York Times reports.

Nationwide, there have been 214 cases of meningitis tied to the outbreak in 15 states, resulting in 15 deaths, CNN reports.

In Minnesota, health officials Monday announced a fifth case of meningitis linked to tainted steroids. The most recent case is a woman in her 20s. The other four were also women.