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Fungal Meningitis outbreak worsens in Florida

9:58 PM, Oct 17, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- As the fungal meningitis outbreak continues to spread in Florida, local hospitals are trying to figure out what it means for their patients.

"What we want to make sure is that health care professionals and doctors are aware that the drugs could be possibly contaminated with," said Dr. Carina Blackmore with the Florida Department of Health.

16 clinics and hospitals in Northeast Florida have received shipments from the compounding company at the center of the fungal meningitis outbreak, and now they're all trying to figure out what it means for their patients.

Baptist Hospital is currently doing a thorough investigation of their patient records to figure out if anyone was given the medication or if they had the affected strain at the hospital.

And the Department of Health is being thorough as well.

An exhaustive list of 78 clinics and hospitals in Florida released by the Department of Health included everywhere that has ever placed an order with NECC, not just limited to the infected strain.

 "If people have concerns about health problems potentially associated with these drugs they need to connect with their health care providers so they can get the proper assessment and treatment," said Blackmore.

While people ages 28-87 in Florida have been infected with the fungal meningitis, there have been no reported cases in Jacksonville, and no clinics we spoke with were aware that they had any contaminated medication.

Some places, like the Absolute Medical Clinic, only ordered one vial of medication from NECC months ago for a patient with an allergy, but that specific medication was not infected with the disease.

Memorial Hospital ordered two vials of medication for a surgery that was never performed, so the medication was never used.

Shands Hospital immediately disposed of all medication from the company after the initial outbreak on October 4th.

Most clinics said they would have more information in the coming days after they've had time to review their records- but any clinic that used the contaminated drug on a patient has an obligation to alert them.

First Coast News

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