ORLANDO, Fla. - The Florida Department of Health has confirmed a 70-year-old man has died as a result of the fungal meningitis outbreak that has infected six Floridians in Marion County.
According to the release, the man died in July, prior to the discovery of the contaminated lots of New England Compounding Center methylprednisolone acetate used for epidural back injections.
A 78-year-old man has also been identified with fungal meningitis related to the contaminated back steroid injection.
"We are saddened by this news and share our condolences with his family and friends," said State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong in a release. "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."
Gov. Rick Scott said that as of Monday 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 suspect a tainted steroid medication made by a specialty pharmacy is to blame. They don't know how many of the shots have been contaminated with meningitis-causing fungus tied to the outbreak. Investigators say as many as 13,000 people may have received the tainted shots and about 17,700 single-dose vials sent to 23 states have been recalled.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.