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Death toll in Joplin tornado rises to 151

(UPI/Tom Uhlenbrock)
An apartment complex reduced to ruble in Joplin, Mo. on May 23, 2011. The death toll attributed to the May 22 tornado that swept through the area has now reached 151 people.

The death toll from the tornado that destroyed much of Joplin has risen to 151 in part because of several deaths linked to a rare fungal infection.

Jasper County Coroner Rob Chappel said Friday that his office is still receiving regular reports of people who have died at hospitals after being hurt in the nation's deadliest tornado in more than six decades.

The most recent death was confirmed late Wednesday.

The updated death toll from the May 22 twister includes at least three hospital patients who became infected with zygomycosis, a severe fungal infection that can occur when soil gets under the skin.

Chappel says it is difficult to identify the infection as a cause of death since the people infected also suffered other severe injuries.

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