SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- Greene County and state health officials differed on whether to issue a statewide alert when a deadly fungus was discovered after the May 22 tornado in Joplin.
County health officials wanted to sound a statewide alarm about the fungus. But state health officials, worried in part about panicking the public, initially said no. County officials issued a limited alert themselves.
The Springfield News-Leader reported (http://bit.ly/oTMNHb ) that emails obtained through records requests document the friction between the two departments over warning the public about the fungus.
State health officials eventually issued a warning about a week after the county's request.
Thirteen people contracted the fungus, and five of them died. No autopsies were done so it's unclear if the fungus caused or contributed to their deaths.
Information from: Springfield News-Leader, http://www.news-leader.com