NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/NewsChannel 5) - The number of patients sickened in Tennessee by an outbreak of fungal meningitis has risen to 80, but the number of deaths in the state remained at 13.
The Tennessee Health Department reported on its website on Thursday that the number of patients who have meningitis, abscesses or stroke associated with an epidural steroid injection has risen by one.
The outbreak of the non-contagious fungal meningitis has sickened more than 400 people around the country and caused more than 30 deaths.
The steroid injections were recalled by the Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center, and its operations have been suspended. Federal and state investigators have found evidence of unsanitary conditions and practices at the company, and federal investigators are conducting a criminal investigation.
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) announced Thursday he will participate in a U.S. Senate committee hearing on November 15 to examining state and federal oversight of NECC.
"This hearing is an important step to learning as much as we can about this tragic outbreak so that we can ensure that it never happens again," Alexander said in a statement. "Tennessee officials identified the outbreak and responded quickly to the cases in our state, and I'm asking for their insights to help legislators in our next steps."