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Four new meningitis cases confirmed in Florida, 3 in Marion County

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The Florida Department of Health has confirmed four new meningitis cases in Florida, bringing the statewide total to 17.

The four cases are connected to the use of contaminated methylprednisolone acetate, a chemical injection used for back pain.

In Marion County, three women were confirmed to be among the newest cases: A 69-year-old woman and a 71-year-old woman at the Florida Pain Clinic, and a 73-year-old woman at the Marion Pain Management Center, according a Marion County Health Department press release.

The number of cases in the county has risen to 13, including three deaths, the release stated.

The Florida Health department also confirmed a 53-year-old Escambia County woman to be the fourth person infected. The woman is currently being treated at Pain Consultants of West Florida in Pensacola.

Meningitis is caused by the inflammation of protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Tainted spinal injections would directly put germs into that part of the body.

The nationwide death toll from the fungal meningitis outbreak has reached to 20 people.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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