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Up To 13,000 May Have Been Infected With Fungal Meningitis

Already, 119 people have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis or suffered a stroke after being injected with tainted steroids produced in Framingham, Massachusetts. Of those, 11 have died, at least one right here in Florida.

The Florida victim of the tainted, dangerous drug was a 70-year-old man who passed away in July. At the time, it was yet unknown that the steroid injection was contaminated but Florida health officials have since determined his wrongful death was linked to the fungal meningitis outbreak.

The fatal outbreak is being closely monitored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The CDC is trying to track down, via email, letters and phone calls, the estimated 13,000 people who may have already been infected by the steroid injection. At least six cases have been identified in Florida and all have been patients in Marion County.

According to Governor Rick Scott, at least 1,185 Floridians may have been exposed to the contaminated steroid and are at risk for developing fungal meningitis from the defective drug. Of those, approximately 700 have been personally contacted by the Florida health officials to advise them they are at risk of developing the fatal infection.

So far, Florida health officials have traced the contaminated steroid to health care facilities in Marion County, Miami-Dade County, Orange County and Escambia County.

Patients who are at risk of contracting fungal meningitis are those who received a steroid injection for back pain between July and the end of September that was produced by the New England Compounding Center. The estimated incubation period for fungal meningitis is anywhere between two and ten weeks; those who are not yet showing symptoms are not out of the woods.

Source: Jacksonville.com, "Florida officials confirm 1st death in national meningitis outbreak," October 10, 2012

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