Florida fungal meningitis cases rise to 19; newest case in Marion


Published: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 3:04 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 at 3:04 p.m.

The Florida Department of Health on Tuesday confirmed a 19th case of fungal meningitis associated with contaminated steroid injections.

The latest case is a 66-year-old Marion County woman who received an injection six weeks ago from the Florida Pain Clinic in Ocala.

Officials have determined that the medicine she received was from one of the contaminated lots manufactured and distributed by the New England Compounding Center (NECC).

Almost 300 patients nationwide have contracted fungal meningitis attributed to tainted methylprednisolone acetate, which is a steroid used for epidural back injections. There have been 23 deaths, three of them in Marion County.

Dr. John Armstrong, the state's secretary of health, said the average age of affected patients in Florida is 70. Nationwide, it's 65.

In Florida, the average incubation period for the fungal meningitis is 14 days, with a range of seven to 81 days.

Nationally, the average is 22 days with a range of four to 89, Armstrong said during a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

He said the state has not spent additional dollars on this investigation; rather, the cost has been covered through the Department of Health's regular budget.

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