First Fungal Meningitis Death in Florida in Outbreak: State Health Officials

State health officials confirmed the death Tuesday

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    Six people at Surgical Park Center, an outpatient facility on Kendall Drive, received the potentially tainted medicine from a Massachusetts specialty pharmacy that has been linked to a nationwide meningitis outbreak. Bill Cox of Surgical Park Center said in a statement that it has stopped using all products it received from the Massachusetts organization. Doctors Jim Turner and Matthew Smith talked about the issue.

    State health officials on Tuesday confirmed the first fungal meningitis death in Florida in the recent nationwide outbreak.

    A 70-year-old Marion County man died in July, before the discovery of the contaminated lots of the steroid methylprednisolone acetate from the New England Compounding Center, the Florida Department of Health said.

    The steroid is injected into the spine to relieve back pain.

    8 Dead in Fungal Meningitis Outbreak: CDC

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    Eight people have died nationwide in a fungal meningitis outbreak linked to contaminated steroid injections, according to the CDC. Doctors Jim Turner and William Schaffner talked about the outbreak, as did Par Ward, who is a friend of one victim.

    The health department said there have been six cases of fungal meningitis in the state, all in Marion County. One of them is a 78-year-old man who contracted the disease after getting a contaminated back steroid injection, the department said.

    More than 100 cases have been reported nationally, with about a dozen deaths.

    Gov. Rick Scott said earlier Tuesday that authorities had contacted nearly 700 of the 1,185 patients linked to facilities that got tainted medicine in Marion, Miami-Dade, Orange and Escambia counties.

    Health officials said they visited 78 facilities in Florida to urge them to stop using any products they received from the New England Compounding Center since Jan. 1.

    Health officials say as many as 13,000 people may have received tainted shots, and about 17,700 single-dose vials sent to 23 states have been recalled.

    "We are saddened by this news and share our condolences with his family and friends," said Florida's Secretary of Health and Surgeon General, Dr. John Armstrong, in a statement. "Our disease investigation process discovered the link between this individual's death and a contaminated steroid injection. We will continue to work closely with our health partners to ensure that individuals who may have received the contaminated medicine are treated, and we have ensured that no medications from NECC, steroid or otherwise, are available in Florida."

    Stay with NBC6.com for updates.