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October 31, 2014

Health officials confirm 9 cases of fungal meningitis

The Minnesota Department of Health says two new cases of fungal meningitis linked to a deadly outbreak has been confirmed, bringing the total to nine in the state.

The eighth case is a man in his 60s that tested positive for the infection weeks ago after receiving spinal injections, but did not seek treatment, The Star Tribune reports. The ninth case also involves a man who received steroid injections in Minnesota but moved to Tennessee before he was diagnosed.

The last seven cases involve women ranging in age from 20s to 70s and one man in his 50s.

Nationally, the death toll stands at 24. There are currently 328 confirmed cases in 18 states.

The potentially deadly infections are caused by contaminated injectables produced by the New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass.

State health officials say nearly 130 clinics throughout Minnesota purchased drugs from NECC, but they do not know how many people received the drugs.