Pharmacy Linked to Meningitis Deaths Suspends Operations

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    An outbreak of meningitis has infected people who received steroid injections.

    A Massachusetts specialty pharmacy suspected as the source of a steroid that has been linked to an outbreak of a deadly form of meningitis - including cases in Virginia and Maryland - says it has voluntarily suspended operations.

    In a statement Wednesday, the New England Compounding Center said it was working closely with the state Department of Public Health and other regulators to identify the source of infection.

    The company said that immediately after it was notified about the infections it initiated a voluntary recall Sept. 26.

    Health officials say the outbreak has sickened 26 people in five states who received steroid injections. Four people have died. Eighteen of the cases are in Tennessee, where a Nashville clinic received the largest shipment of the steroid from the Framingham-based company.

    Three cases have been reported in Virginia, two in Maryland, two in Florida and one in North Carolina. Two of the deaths were in Tennessee; Virginia and Maryland had one each, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said.

    The Massachusetts health department said it is collaborating with federal regulators and other states on the investigation. It confirmed the New England Compounding Center voluntarily surrendered its license to operate and has recalled the suspected steroid medication along with all similar medications it produced.