Fungal meningitis outbreak rises to 308

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced that 11 more cases of fungal meningitis linked to a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy have been reported, including the first case from Georgia.

No new deaths have been reported, but officials said the total number of cases has risen to 308. Seventeen states have now reported cases, according to CIDRAP News.

The recalled methylprednisolone acetate steroid injections behind the outbreak were used to treat back pain and joint problems, although only four cases and no deaths have been linked to those using the treatment for joints.

The New England Compounding Center, the pharmacy linked to the infections, is currently under investigation by federal and state authorities.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee recently sent a letter to NECC and one of its former owners to request documents related to the outbreak. The congressional probe is looking at previous investigations centered on NECC and related business operations, CIDRAP News reports.

The committee said it has requested that Barry Cadden, NECC's former owner, president and director of pharmacy, release related documents from his personal email account. Cadden's attorney told the committee that Cadden would not comply with an October 11 request for outbreak briefings.

"While we are disappointed that neither you nor anyone else from the NECC could make themselves available to brief committee staff, the committee must proceed with the investigation. We expect that you will cooperate in this matter," the committee said in its official request, according to CIDRAP News.