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Ruling delayed on meningitis firm assets

BOSTON - A federal judge declined to make an immediate ruling on whether to freeze the assets of New England Compounding Center and its owners, which are battling investigations into a deadly U.S. meningitis outbreak.

U.S. District Judge Dennis Saylor said he would take the matter under advisement after a two-hour hearing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 34 people have died and 490 have been injured after Framingham, Mass.-based NECC shipped thousands of fungus-tainted vials of methylprednisolone acetate to medical facilities throughout the United States. The steroid was typically used to ease back pain.