Two people in the United States have died with probable cases of fungal meningitis and more than 200 others are at risk after the outbreak of the infection among patients undergoing surgery in Matamoros, Mexico, the Centers for Disease Control said Friday. and Prevention.
At least 220 people in the United States who were treated at two clinics in Matamoros this year could be at risk after undergoing epidural anesthesia, which is injected near the spine, the CDC said. People at risk traveled from the United States to Mexican clinics for surgical procedures that included liposuction, Brazilian butt lift and breast augmentation.
The CDC said two people who were classified as probable cases of fungal meningitis died on Friday. There were an additional 11 probable cases of infection, based on lumbar puncture findings, and 14 suspected cases, based on symptoms consistent with meningitis, the CDC said.
Health authorities in the United States and Mexico have asked the World Health Organization to issue a declaration of emergency in response to the outbreak.
The two clinics linked to the infections are River Side Surgical Center and the K-3 Clinic in Matamoros, and both closed on May 13, the CDC said.
People who have had epidural anesthesia a these clinics should go to the nearest health center, urgent care facility, or emergency room as soon as possible to get tested for meningitis, even if they have no symptoms, health officials said.
It can take weeks for meningitis symptoms to appear, and once they do, they can quickly become severe and life-threatening, the CDC said. Symptoms may include sensitivity to light, stiff neck, fever, vomiting, and confusion. Fungal meningitis infections are not contagious or transmitted from person to person.
The CDC said anyone planning an elective procedure involving an epidural injection of an anesthetic in Matamoros should cancel the surgery and associated travel « until there is evidence that there is no longer any risk of infection in these clinics ».
According to the CDC, millions of people in the United States travel to another country each year for medical treatment, a practice known as medical tourism. The most common procedures people look for on those trips include dental care, surgery, cosmetic surgery, fertility treatments, organ and tissue transplants, and cancer treatment.
The CDC said Mexico’s Ministry of Health gave it a list of 221 U.S. residents who may be at risk of meningitis because they had surgery at one of the two clinics this year.
said Dallas Smith, a CDC epidemiologist Friday a webinar for scientists and healthcare professionals that 205 of those exposed were women and 16 men. The mean age of the patients was 32 years and 178 of them were from Texas.
Dr. Smith said the outbreak was similar to a fungal meningitis outbreak that began in November 2022 in Durango, Mexico, where more than 1,400 patients were likely exposed through contaminated epidural anesthesia. In that outbreak, 80 people got meningitis and 39 of them died, he said.
« The epidemic we’re experiencing now is quite similar and has the capacity to have this high death rate and devastate families and communities, » said Dr. Smith.
He said Mexican and US authorities had submitted a Public Health Emergency of International Concern request to WHO because the outbreak had exposed people in Mexico, the US, Canada and Colombia.
This statement is intended to accelerate international collaboration, funding, and development of treatments in response to disease. WHO declared Covid-19 an emergency in January 2020 and rescinded the designation this month.
The CDC said it is working with the Mexican Ministry of Health and local health departments in 24 US states and the District of Columbia to respond to the outbreak and to contact people officials know have had surgery at clinics. .
CDC officials found that six of the 221 people potentially exposed to the infection did not have epidural anesthesia and are not considered at risk. The agency also found five other people who weren’t in the initial group of 221, meaning at least 220 people in the United States were potentially exposed.
Health officials are trying to determine which organism or organisms caused the outbreak and whether other clinics were involved.
Ministry of Health of Mexico said Thursday that around 547 people were operated on in the two clinics between 1 January and 13 May.