2 more people diagnosed with fungal meningitis



TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Two more Floridians have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis after receiving contaminated steroid injections.

The Department of Health said Tuesday that a 74-year-old woman who was treated in Marion County and a 79-year-old woman who received the injection in Escambia County are the latest cases.

So far, 12 people in Florida have contracted fungal meningitis. Two of those people have died.

This outbreak of fungal meningitis has been linked to steroid shots for back pain. The medication, made by a specialty pharmacy in Massachusetts, has been recalled.

People in 15 states have been affected. Federal health officials say there have been 212 cases of fungal meningitis, including 15 deaths.

The FDA is urging doctors to not use any kind of medication from the New England compounding center at the heart of the outbreak, not just steroid shots.

The announcement comes as two new patients, one of whom was a heart transplant patient contracted fungal meningitis through means "other than" the steroid shot initially suspected.

The Marion County Health Department calls the latest discovery of a new meningitis case disheartening.

WFTV learned that roughly 40 percent of Florida's contaminated pain injections were administered in Marion County. Nearly all of the 424 patients have been contacted.

It's created so much work for Marion officials that the state had to send additional help.

"We could use the help. They've been helping us contact people, knocking on doors and contact the very last of those people who have received those injections," said Craig Ackerman, of the Marion County Health Department.

Only three people haven't been contacted. But now Marion and other health departments will be busy make another round calls.

This time to all patients who have received medication from the New England compounding pharmacy.

The state said Tuesday it's still trying to find out how many patients received the medication from NECC.

"I wouldn't have filed this case if I didn't think I didn't have a case," said attorney John Puccin.

Puccin told WFTV his client received one of those contaminated doses and is now suing NECC.

For the past two and half weeks, she's been in the hospital. He doesn't know how much money his client might get.

"It's undetermined because she is still in the hospital and I don't know. It depends on what her damages are and what her injuries are," said Puccin.

The state told WFTV there are 12 facilities in central Florida that received medicine from the Massachusetts based company.

For a list of recalled medications and the 78 facilities that received them statewide click here.