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Indiana meningitis cases reach 8

– A state health official says Indiana now has eight cases of fungal meningitis linked to a tainted back pain medication, up from Saturday’s five reported cases.

State Department of Health spokesman Ken Severson also said in a Sunday statement that there have been no deaths in Indiana associated with the outbreak that has spread to more than 90 people across nine states and killed at least seven people.

The rare fungal meningitis cases are linked to a steroid produced by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts. That steroid has been recalled, and health officials have been scrambling to notify anyone who may have been injected with it. Six Indiana health facilities received batches of the recalled steroid.

The type of fungal meningitis involved in the outbreak is not contagious. Meningitis is caused by the inflammation of protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

Daniels still doing ads for Purdue rival

Gov. Mitch Daniels is still promoting the online college known as Western Governors University just months before he becomes Purdue University’s new president.

Daniels has appeared in commercials for the past two years touting WGU, a nonprofit with a board based in Salt Lake City. He signed an executive order in 2010 creating an Indiana branch of the online college.

His spokeswoman, Jane Jankowski, said Daniels “will continue to speak supportively of WGU” until his second term ends in January. But the governor, who assumes Purdue’s presidency in January, resigned from WGU’s national board in June.

Daniels has stressed to the Purdue community that the West Lafayette school is not in competition with WGU.

Parking lease at IU runs into opposition

Opposition is growing among Indiana University faculty and staff to a proposal to lease campus parking spaces in exchange for a multimillion-dollar payout.

A petition drive is circulating among IU employees who oppose the idea of leasing the university’s Bloomington and Indianapolis parking operations to a private operator.

Communication Workers of America Local 4730 president Edward Vasquez said the union has gathered the signatures of hundreds of faculty and staff on the petition, which questions whether an IU lease would bring a loss of price controls, service and jobs.

IU proposed the lease idea earlier this year after Ohio State University did the same for an upfront payment of $483 million on a 50-year lease to a private operator.