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14 more diagnosed with meningitis in US, death toll rises to 21

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says 14 more people have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis across the United States, bringing the total number of cases to 268.

The CDC said on Friday that the death toll from the extraordinary outbreak, which has been linked to contaminated drugs from New England Compounding Center (NECC) pharmaceutical company in Massachusetts, rose to 21.

The CDC announced that it found the new cases of fungal meningitis in Florida (4), Michigan (4), Ohio (1), Indiana (1), Virginia (1), and Tennessee (3), which has been the hardest hit of the 16 states with confirmed cases. The latest death was in Michigan, its fifth.

Meanwhile, executives at the NECC were sued on Friday in an action aimed at freezing their personal assets.

"We want to pierce the corporate veil and go after the individuals," Peter McGrath, a lawyer who is a former federal prosecutor, said.

An investigation into the outbreak began in September.

A Press TV correspondent in Washington said on October 10 that “the outbreak is highlighting a well-known practice in America where physicians and clinics are increasingly getting material from compounding pharmacies that sell drugs at a much lower cost than major drug manufacturers, creating customized medication solutions for patients.”

“According to the International Academy of Compounding [Pharmacists], an estimated 56,000 US pharmacies across the country practice compounding,” the Press TV correspondent added.

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