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Nine more cases of meningitis reported in outbreak

(Reuters) - Nine more cases of deadly fungal meningitis were reported from an outbreak tied to steroid medications shipped by a Massachusetts company, bringing the national total to 377 cases, U.S. health officials said on Thursday.

No new deaths were reported on Thursday and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Virginia had revised down the number of deaths there to two from three, reducing the national fatality total to 28. The CDC gave no reason for the revision.

In addition to the 377 cases of meningitis, the CDC said there also were nine reported cases of infections after a potentially contaminated steroid was injected into a joint such as a knee, hip, shoulder or elbow, bringing the total number of infections nationwide to 386.

The steroid was supplied by New England Compounding Center of Massachusetts, which faces multiple investigations. Health authorities have said its facility near Boston failed to make medications in sterile conditions. A fungus was found in some of the vials of steroid produced by the company and bacteria was found in other drugs from the facility.

A sister company of NECC, Ameridose, on Wednesday recalled all of its products in a move to cooperate with authorities. The recall could lead to shortages of some drugs.

(Reporting by Greg McCune; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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