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Health News Florida

Florida Got Drugs Linked to New Outbreak

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Florida is one of 13 states that received drugs from a compounding pharmacy that may be linked to a new outbreak of illness similar to the one that hurt 720 people and killed 48 -- including five in this state.

Federal health officials are asking all facilities that received sterile injectibles from Main Street Family Pharmacy  in Newbern, Tenn., to quarantine those products immediately and contact patients who may have received them.

An Associated Press report, citing information from the Food and Drug Administration, says there have been seven cases so far in Illinois and North Carolina.

The Florida Department of Health website shows that Main Street Family Pharmacy has an active Florida license. Just before 5 p.m. Friday, DOH issued a press release that says it knows of no cases reported yet in Florida, but said it is "working with" health care facilities that received products from the Tennessee company.

DOH's release did not say how many facilities received the products -- or indeed, whether it even knows how many received them.  No one was immediately available at the DOH press office to answer questions.

Tennessee health officials said in a release that Main Street has been cooperative, recalling all of its sterile products.  Those are liquids that are injected or infused into a sterile space, such as the blood stream, spine, joint or eye.

The timing of the alert could hardly be worse. It went out after many people had already left for a three-day holiday weekend.

Last year's outbreak, caused by contaminated steroid injections from the now-defunct New England Compounding Center in Massachusetts, triggered severe cases of fungal meningitis, as well strokes and other problems.

The patients in the new outbreak all received injections of methylprednisolone acetate (80 mg/mL), according to the FDA. The drug is called MPA for short.

FDA and Tennessee Department of Health entered the Main Street Family Pharmacy on Wednesday to determine what triggered the outbreak.

For updates on this story, please click on the Health News Florida website.

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