1 dead after surgery in Mexico, 4 hospitalized with meningitis

One person died and four others were hospitalized with suspected fungal meningitis after traveling from Texas to Mexico for surgery, Texas health officials said.

The Texas Department of Health said the surgery was performed in Matamoros, Mexico, and each patient received an epidural injection.

“It is very important for people who have recently undergone medical procedures in Mexico to monitor themselves for symptoms of meningitis,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Jennifer Schford. “Meningitis, especially when caused by bacteria or fungi, can be a life-threatening disease if not treated promptly.”

Matamoros is located in northeastern Mexico, just south of Brownsville, Texas, along the Rio Grande River.

Investigators in the United States and Mexico are working to determine the cause of the outbreak and whether it is related. The victim’s identity has not been released.

In a warning, the Texas Department of Health said, “Elective surgeries such as liposuction with epidural anesthesia in Matamoros are advised to be canceled or postponed until there is evidence that the surgery does not pose a significant risk of infection. We should consider it.” “If you have surgery involving an epidural in Matamoros anytime in 2023, please contact your doctor to inform them of the risk of fungal infection and seek treatment if you develop symptoms of meningitis.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of fungal meningitis include “fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, confusion,” and light sensitivity. The CDC also called on Americans to stop procedures involving planned epidural injections in Matamoros.

Earlier this year, four Americans were kidnapped at gunpoint after traveling together to Matamoros for cosmetic surgery. Two of the victims were found dead days later, and the rest were found alive in a guarded wooden hut, officials said.

The drug cartel later issued a letter of apology, and a US official told CNN that the American was probably mistaken for a Haitian smuggler.

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