With the U.S. in the midst of a meningitis outbreak, the Florida Department of Health reports that a 70-year-old man died in July from what authorities believe was a contaminated steroid medication he had received. In Florida, there have been a total of six cases, all of which are in Marion County.
Reportedly, there have been more than 100 cases of fungal meningitis across the nation. The tainted medication had apparently been given to some 1185 patients in Marion, Miami-Dade, Orange and Escambia counties. Gov. Rick Scott says that nearly 700 of those patients had been contacted so far in regards to possible infection.
There have been some 17,700 single-dose vials sent to 23 states, all of which have been recalled. It is estimated that there are upwards of 13,000 people who may have already received tainted shots. Three lots of the steroid were involved in the recall.
As of now there have been twelve deaths in ten states linked to a rare form of noncontagious meningitis, making as many as 120 people ill. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are warning patients having received epidural injections for lower back pain, knee pain or other areas to watch for signs of illness. Rarely do knee injections lead to meningitis, but there could be an infection limited to the joint itself. Contaminated epidural injections given near the spine are a different issue entirely because the spinal fluid gives the infection a direct route to the brain.
Fungal meningitis is very rare and, unlike viral and bacterial meningitis, is not contagious.