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Florida Reports First Death in Meningitis Outbreak

Posted on October 10, 2012

The first death of a Florida resident has been linked to the deadly fungal meningitis outbreak that has now spread to ten states and has sickened 121 people and killed 12 as of October 10.

A 70-year-old Florida patient died in July before the contaminated lots of the pain-killing steroid compounded by New England Compounding Center (NECC) were discovered. A Florida Department of Health (DOH) spokeswoman said that the patient had received the epidural injection at the Florida Pain Clinic in Ocala.

The tally of confirmed Florida meningitis victims is now six. Up to this point, five patients who had contracted the rare fungal meningitis had received treatment at the Marion Pain Management Center, also in Ocala. They all survived.

It has been estimated that 13,000 people in 23 states may have been injected with the tainted steroids. One health official said that approximately 5 percent of those injected have come down with meningitis. Projecting that forward, he stated that the number of confirmed cases could grow to about 650 from the current 121.

On Sept. 26, the NECC recalled suspected contaminated lots of the injections, but has since expanded the recall to include all of its products. The meningitis outbreak has called into question the regulation of pharmacy compounders, which are facilities that custom mix drug ingredients for specific clients. While The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates the drug ingredients, it holds no oversight power over the compounders, which are regulated by state entities.

Gov. Rick Scott said that more than half of the 1,185 Florida patients who were exposed to the tainted steroids have been contacted by the DOH. The health agency has set up a toll-free line to answer any questions concerning the outbreak: (866) 523-7339.

The Florida meningitis steroid shot lawyers at Farah & Farah are dedicated to protecting the rights of those injured and families of those killed due to dangerous drug side effects and contaminated products. To learn more about your legal rights and options, call us today at (800) 533-3555 for a free consultation.