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Responding to the Outbreak of Invasive Fungal Infections:  The Value of Public Health to Americans

Beth P. Bell, MD, MPH; Rima F. Khabbaz, MD
JAMA. 2013;309(9):883-884. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.526.
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The outbreak of invasive fungal infections among patients who received injections of contaminated methylprednisolone acetate prepared by the New England Compounding Center (in Framingham, Massachusetts) is a disturbing tragedy, already the largest health care–associated fungal outbreak reported in the United States, with 693 cases and 45 deaths reported as of January 28, 2013.1 Effectively responding to this catastrophic event required rapid actions by clinical and public health practitioners who worked to ensure discontinued use of the suspect medication, notify at-risk patients and their physicians, and decipher the many unknowns about the outbreak to provide the best guidance for minimizing harm.

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Figure. Meningitis Cases and 30-Day Case-Fatality Rate by Week of Diagnosis (August 13–December 23, 2012)
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Each 30-day case-fatality rate is calculated for patients diagnosed during the corresponding week. TDOH indicates Tennessee Department of Health; NECC, New England Compounding Center; CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; FDA, US Food and Drug Administration.

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