By Chip Skambis
Four fungal meningitis cases have been confirmed in Florida, according to Gov. Rick Scott. The national outbreak of this disease, which usually results from a spread of a fungus to the spinal cord, has killed eight people.
Gov. Scott told members of the Florida Cabinet the outbreak in Florida appears to be under control. All four Florida cases are in Marion County, specifically affecting four people who received injections at the Marion Pain Management Center.
Those affected include three men, ages 87, 83 and 81. The fourth case affected a woman, 65.
Scott says nearly 700 have been contacted of the nearly 1,200 Florida patients who have been linked to facilities that received tainted medicine. These patients are in Miami-Dade, Orange, Escambia and Marion counties.
Dr. Corine Blackmore is an epidemiologist with the Florida Department of Health. Blackmore said these centers unknowingly purchased the contaminated drugs.
“We are working with them to contact all the patients that received the drugs,” Blackmore said. “All facilities have been working very very closely.”
Marion County Health Department Spokesman Craig Ackerman stresses the situation is contained now and will not spread.
“There is no fear of this spreading from person to person,” Ackerman said. “The public does not need to to be worried about being around people who have been infected.”
Ackerman said if someone received one of these injections, he or she should check with a health care professional, even if the symptoms are mild.
Cassandra Vangellow edited this story online.