Published: Oct 19, 2012 11:59 AM EDT

TALLAHASSSEE, Fla. (AP) - The number of confirmed fungal meningitis cases in Florida continues to grow.
    
Florida health officials announced Friday that there are now 17 confirmed cases in the state connected to the use of contaminated steroids used for back pain.
    
There are four new confirmed cases. Three of the people suffering from fungal meningitis are from Marion County and the other person is from Escambia County.
    
The state reported earlier this week that three people have died as a result of the fungal meningitis outbreak. Nationwide the death toll has risen to 20 people.
    
Meningitis is caused by the inflammation of protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. Tainted spinal injections would directly put germs into that part of the body.

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