Florida Poison Control: 2 dead, dozens hospitalized for severe bleeding after using 'spice' in Hillsborough

Health officials say two people have died and dozens have been hospitalized in Hillsborough County after smoking a synthetic marijuana known as "spice."

The Florida Poison Control Center issued a warning on Monday about an outbreak of severe bleeding in patients who had used the drug, saying 35 people had been hospitalized.

By Tuesday, the number of patients had risen to 41, and officials confirmed two people had died.

"They presented with significant clinical effects like blood in their urine, spontaneous bleeding from their nose, easy bruising and pretty sick people out there," explained Fred Aleguas, the co-managing director of the Florida Poison Information Center in Tampa.

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Officials warned users that symptoms can develop and progress rapidly.

Local poison control officials say the outbreak appears to have started a little over a week ago.

Spice is illegal, but is still routinely bought and sold on the black market. It’s not yet clear where the spice causing the symptoms is being sold; testing of the compounds related to this current outbreak is underway.

A similar outbreak occurred a few years ago and involved hundreds of patients across multiple states. In some of those cases, forms of rat poison were found to have caused victims to become violently ill.

Health officials are warning folks to stop using the drug, but if they already have and start to have symptoms, to go to the nearest emergency room immediately.