Public Health

Meningitis Outbreak May Result in Federal Charges

Hundreds sickened and many deaths over tainted drugs

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Investigators from several states and the federal government are exchanging information and pushing forward together in their probe of last year's deadly fungal meningitis outbreak, pausing state grand jury inquiries to increase chances of getting justice for victims, Michigan's attorney general said Monday.

Standing with U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz of Massachusetts, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said the unusual agreement will save time as officials look more closely at the 750 cases illnesses and deaths from tainted steroids manufactured by a Massachusetts compounding pharmacy, likening the arrangement to "two horses pulling one wagon."

"This unique federal-state partnership helps both our investigations," he said. The last such investigation occurred after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.