The Mexican Center for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday that an outbreak of infection among patients undergoing surgery in Matamoros, Mexico, has killed two people in the United States and put more than 200 others at risk from suspected fungal meningitis. announced that it is
According to the CDC, at least 220 people in the United States who were treated at two clinics in Matamoros this year could be at risk after epidurals injected near the spine. At-risk people traveled from the United States to clinics in Mexico to undergo surgical procedures such as liposuction, Brazilian hip lifts and breast augmentation.
The CDC said two people who had been classified as suspected fungal meningitis as of Friday had died. The CDC said there were 11 more probable cases based on spinal tap results and 14 suspected cases based on symptoms consistent with meningitis.
Health officials in the United States and Mexico have asked the World Health Organization to declare a state of emergency following the outbreak.
The two clinics linked to the infection were the Riverside Surgical Center in Matamoros and Clinica K-3, both of which closed on May 13, according to the CDC.
person who received epidural anesthesia Those clinics should go to the nearest health center, emergency medical facility, or emergency room as soon as possible to be tested for meningitis, even if they have no symptoms, health officials said.
Symptoms of meningitis can take weeks to appear, according to the CDC, and once they do, they can quickly become severe and life-threatening. Symptoms may include light sensitivity, stiff neck, fever, vomiting and confusion. Fungal meningitis infection is not contagious from person to person.
The CDC said those planning elective surgeries involving epidural injections of anesthetic in Matamoros will cancel the surgeries and associated travel “until there is evidence that these clinics are no longer infectious.” said I need to.
According to the CDC, millions of people in the United States travel to other countries for medical care each year, a process known as medical tourism. Some of the most common procedures people seek while traveling include dentistry, surgery, cosmetic surgery, fertility treatments, organ and tissue transplants, and cancer treatments.
Mexico’s health ministry has provided a list of 221 U.S. residents who may be at risk of meningitis after undergoing surgery at one of two clinics this year, according to the CDC. .
CDC epidemiologist Dallas Smith said Friday in a webinar for scientists and health care providers that 205 of those infected were women and 16 were men. The median age of patients was 32 years, 178 of whom were from Texas.
Smith said the outbreak is similar to the fungal meningitis outbreak that began in Durango, Mexico, in November 2022, where more than 1,400 patients may have been infected by contaminated epidurals. said to be sexual. In the epidemic, 80 people were found to have meningitis, 39 of whom died, he said.
“The infectious disease epidemics we are experiencing today are very similar and could result in such high mortality rates and just devastate families and communities,” Dr. Smith said.
He said authorities in Mexico and the United States had submitted a request to the WHO calling for a public health emergency of international concern as the outbreak infected people in Mexico, the United States, Canada and Colombia.
The declaration aims to accelerate international cooperation, funding and development of cures for the disease. The WHO declared COVID-19 a state of emergency in January 2020 and lifted it this month.
The CDC said it was working with the Mexican Ministry of Health, local health departments in 24 U.S. states and the District of Columbia to respond to the outbreak and contacting people known to authorities to have had surgery at the clinic. rice field.
CDC officials found that six of the 221 people who may have been exposed to the infection did not receive an epidural and were not considered at risk. The agency also found five others who weren’t included in the original group of 221, meaning at least 220 people in the United States may be infected.
Health officials are trying to find out which organism caused the outbreak and whether other clinics were involved.
Mexico’s health ministry said Thursday that an estimated 547 people underwent surgery at two clinics between Jan. 1 and May 13.