TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Florida Department of Health on Wednesday confirmed a third death as a result of the nationwide fungal meningitis outbreak associated with the contaminated steroids.
According to the Health Department, a 78-year-old man previously identified in Marion County died as a result of an injection received on Aug. 28 from one of the contaminated lots of New England Compounding Center methylprednisolone acetate. He died earlier this week.
[MENINGITIS: What you need to know]
Health officials also said a 28-year-old woman receiving treatment from Pain Consultants of West Florida in Escambia County is the state's 13th and newest case.
"One death is too many. We extend our condolences to his family and loved ones during this challenging time," said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong in a release. "We remain focused on contacting all patients who may have received contaminated NECC steroid injections to ensure that they receive appropriate medical attention."
The two previous victims who died were treated at two separate Marion County pain clinics. It's not clear where the third victim was treated.
Meanwhile, criminal investigators from the Department of Justice and the Food and Drug Administration were at a Massachusetts pharmaceutical company on Tuesday with a search warrant, a company spokesman said.
The deaths are among the 247 people in 15 states sickened in the outbreak, which has been tied to steroid shots for back pain. Most have a rare fungal form of meningitis. Two have joint infections.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated the count on Wednesday. There were two more deaths reported in Tennessee and one each in Florida and Virginia.
The CDC also said test results so far show infections with three kinds of fungus. Most were a form of black mold.
Meanwhile, another Marion County meningitis victim has filed the first lawsuit in Florida against the Massachusetts pharmacy that distributed tainted steroid injections.
Vlinda York's attorney filed a lawsuit this week against the New England Compounding Center.
York was treated at the Marion Pain Management Center with two tainted steroid injections in August.
Florida Hospital officials tell Local 6 it has not used the drug, but has pulled and quarantined any NECC product purchased after May 21, 2012.
"We are working to compile a list of patients that may have received NECC products," according to a statement. "We will be notifying these patients that should they have any symptoms of meningitis as outlined by the FDA to contact their physician immediately."
Watch Local 6 for more on this story.
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