Minnesota reports 11th patient with infection tied to tainted steroid

The new case is in a woman in her 70s who was among nearly 1,000 in Minnesota who received faulty injections.

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FILE - In this photo made available, Oct. 9, 2012, by the Minnesota Department of Health shows shows vials of the injectable steroid product made by New England Compounding Center implicated in a fungal meningitis outbreak that were being shipped to the CDC from Minneapolis. On Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said the fungus was in one lot of vials made in August, 2012 by the New England Compounding Center of Framingham, Mass. The specialty pharmacy has been at the center of a national investigation into more than 250 fungal meningitis cases, including at least 20 deaths.

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Minnesota has confirmed its 11th fungal infection associated with a deadly national outbreak linked to a tainted steroid from a Massachusetts pharmacy.

The latest patient is a woman in her 70s who contracted fungal meningitis, the state Department of Health said on Tuesday.

The department says that nearly 1,000 Minnesota patients received the tainted injections at two Minnesota clinic groups, Medical Advanced Pain Specialists and Minnesota Surgery Center. The drugs have since been recalled by the pharmacy, the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., and federal authorities have told doctors and clinics to stop using them.

Scores of Minnesota patients have been tested since the outbreak started, and although only 11 have so far been confirmed as positive -- 10 for meningitis and one for a bone or joint infection -- many more have reported related symptoms, including headaches and neck pain. Of the 11 patients in Minnesota, four are in their 40s and six are older than 50. None has died.

The two Minnesota clinics stopped using the tainted steroid many weeks ago, but because the illness has an incubation period ranging from 42 to 66 days, it's possible that more cases could surface, health officials say.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported 419 cases of meningitis linked to the contaminated steroid shots and another 10 cases of related bone or joint infections. Thirty people have died as a result of the outbreak, the agency reported Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. mlerner@startribune.com • 612-673-7384 pwalsh@startribune.com • 612-673-4482

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