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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.

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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.

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.

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© Guardian News and Media 2012

[Image via Agence France-Presse]

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Michael Moore predicts Mick Mulvaney will get into Heaven after confessing Trump’s quid pro quo

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Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore predicted acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney will ascend to Heaven in the afterlife during a Friday interview on MSNBC's "The Beat" with Ari Melber.

The host played a clip of Mulvaney admitting Trump's quid pro quo while seeking foreign election assistance from Ukraine.

"This man obviously is going to be admitted into Heaven," Moore said. "You know, he told the truth."

"If there was a movie version of this, somebody stuck him with a needle just before he walked out onto the stage there, a truth serum needle, and he just went on and on saying, 'Yeah, that’s what we do. Yeah, of course.' Essentially admitting there is a quid pro quo. In fact, there are many quid pro quos."

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Trump campaign has 12-person ‘War Room’ toiling to fight the impeachment inquiry: report

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While the White House has bragged about refusing to start a "war room" to deal with the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump's administration, his campaign is footing the bill for a 12-person operation, the LA Times reported Friday.

“Some of you have criticized us for not having a war room — OK? — which we don’t by the way,” acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters.

“You don’t have a war room when you haven’t done anything wrong," he added.

By that logic, Trump's 2020 re-election campaign may fear the president did something wrong.

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‘I don’t think he knows what he’s doing’: Ex-Trump advisor rips the ‘cascading crisis’ of his ‘strategic disaster’

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President Donald Trump received harsh criticism from a former top Middle East advisor for the ethnic cleansing campaign Turkey is waging against the Kurds in Syria.

MSNBC's Chuck Todd interviewed Brett McGurk, the former special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL.

"The truth of the matter is when President Trump announced to the world last December that we were leaving Syria and he arbitrarily cut our force reportedly in half, which is already a small force, we lost all of our leverage and influence," McGurk argued. "And he really threw it out the window on this call on October 6th."

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