Four clinics in central Fla. may have given tainted shots linked to meningitis outbreak

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Four clinics in central Florida are notifying patients that they may have been given the tainted shots that have been linked to a meningitis outbreak.

The number of people who have gotten sick has risen again. There are now 47 cases in seven states, including two cases in Marion County. Five people have died.

Workers have alerted many patients to be aware of potential symptoms. The Orlando Center for Outpatient Surgery is one of eight places around the state that gave patients spinal injections that were contaminated.

"The facility tells the health department that they've gotten in touch with all the patients that they administered this medicine too," said Dain Weister, spokesman for the Orange County Health Department.

Around a dozen people at Orlando Center for Outpatient Surgery got medications that are suspected in a meningitis outbreak.

"As soon as we found out about this we got in touch with this facility to make sure they got rid of this medicine basically held it back," said Weister.

The vials of the steroid that's injected into the spinal cord will be quarantined and handed over to the Food and Drug Administration.

The product was made by the New England compounding center in Massachusetts. A fungus was found in the vials. The medications are suspected in a multistate meningitis outbreak that's led to the deaths of five people.

Three health clinics in Ocala also got the tainted meds: the Florida Pain Clinic, the Marion Pain Management Center and the Surgery Center of Ocala.

A worker there told WFTV at least 20 patients got the contaminated medicine and they've been told to seek medical assistance immediately. So far, two people have tested positive for the fungal meningitis in Marion County.

There are no reported cases elsewhere in central Florida.

"It's something to be aware of, but again it's a select group of people we're talking about that would have to be on the lookout," said Weister.

The center in Massachusetts the produced the tainted vials has been closed.