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Meningitis outbreak death toll rises to 23 as reported cases also increase

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Nearly two-dozen have died as disease is traced back to fungal contaminate at New England compounding company

The death toll from a rare form on fungal meningitis linked to contaminated steroid shots prepared by a Massachusetts pharmacy has now risen to 23, health officials said Saturday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted in its latest update that a further two additional patients are now known to have been given the fatal injection. It also increased the total number of reported cases to 284.

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Some 16 states have now been affected by the widening health scare, thought caused by batches of infected medications shipped out by the New England Compounding Center (NECC) – a pharmacy compounder near Boston that could face criminal charges over the outbreak.

On Thursday it was confirmed that a fungal contaminate found in a sealed vial of the steroid methylprednisolone acetate at the company matched that blamed for the 20-plus deaths.

All the victims had all received steroid shots made by the NECC, mostly to treat back pain. As many as 14,000 people received injections derived from batches mixed at the pharmacy.

Earlier this week, federal agents from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raided NECC’s premises in the Boston suburb of Framingham.

Accompanied by local police officers, the raid came amid growing concerns that other medications sent out by the company may be contaminated, a concern that could drastically escalate the national health scare.

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The pharmacy compounder has a checkered history of violating health and safety standards, having been cited on numerous occasions by the FDA prior to the latest outbreak.

As well as the prospect of potential criminal action, the company is already the subject of numerous civil lawsuits by those affected by the meningitis outbreak. It is thought that at least 10 different complainants have now lodged legal documents suing the NECC.

© Guardian News and Media 2012

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[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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‘Hell no’: Texans join forces to stop Trump from stealing their land

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President Donald Trump's pledge to build a wall at the southern border with Mexico has been a huge winner with his base. But there is one group of people who are not happy: the Texans who actually live in the region where the wall would be built.

According to the Washington Post, many people in the region have no intention of letting the federal government seize their land to construct the wall, like Afghanistan war veteran Salvador Castillo of Brownsville, who received a letter from officials demanding unlimited access to and use of his land, which gradually escalated into a lawsuit.

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Team Trump wants to steal another election — and there’s only one way to beat them back

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When I was growing up at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, back in the early 1960s, my mother drove down to Kansas City one morning to go shopping and have lunch with an old friend of her mother’s. Ladies going out shopping and having lunch in the upscale Country Club Plaza in Kansas City was almost a formal occasion. I remember she put on a summery suit and heels and stockings, and I’m pretty sure she wore a pair of white cotton gloves.

When she returned a few hours later, she wasn’t carrying any bags from the shops, and she was seething. The woman she’d eaten lunch with was married to a man who owned a chain of downtown hotels in major cities around the country. They lived in a big Tudor house in Mission Hills, the Beverly Hills of the Midwest. She drove a Cadillac. She was rich.

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#LetLevSpeak: Giuliani henchman’s attorney explains why his client wants to testify against Devin Nunes

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An attorney for indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas warned Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., that “Lev remembers” their phone calls — even if the Intelligence Committee’s top Republican does not.Phone records obtained from AT&T and released in the Intelligence Committee’s impeachment report revealed four phone calls between Nunes and Parnas on April 12, amid the smear campaign that ousted then-Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, including one which lasted longer than eight minutes. Parnas, who played a key role in Giuliani’s hunt for damaging information on former Vice President Joe Biden, was later indicted on campaign finance charges. Prosecutors have said he is still under investigation for more crimes.However, Nunes now claims that he cannot not recall speaking with Parnas.
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