By Samantha Joseph
STUART - Martin County's health department is providing regular updates to local health care providers about the outbreak of fungal meningitis in Florida and several other states.
For residents seeking information, a meningitis hotline, (866) 523-7339, provides answers and handles concerns.
Twenty-two people in Florida have contracted fungal meningitis from contaminated lots of methylprednisolone acetate, a steroid primarily used epidural back injections. Three died as a result, according to information from the state health department.
Nationwide, there have been 308 cases, with 23 deaths across 17 states as a result of fungal meningitis related to contaminated steroid injections.
"Martin County has not seen any cases related to this issue. Our epidemiology department is providing regular updates to local health care providers. If residents call with questions or concerns, we are referring them to the department of health meningitis hotline," Ms. Rouse said.
Martin County's health department is working with several clinics, providing information to protect patients, said spokeswoman Renay Rouse.
Signs and symptoms of meningitis related to epidural medication injections include: fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea and vomiting, sensitivity to light and altered mental status.
Other infections are also possible, so officials advised patients of symptoms that include fever, vision changes, pain, redness or discharge from the eye, chest pain or drainage from a surgical site, and swelling, increasing pain, redness, warmth at injection sites.
The newest cases involved a 60-year-old man and 36-year-old woman who both received treatment at the Pain Consultants of West Florida in Escambia County.
A 50-year-old man who got treatment at a pain clinic in Marion County is also among the latest victims.