CDC: 2 dead in suspected cases of meningitis after surgery in Mexico, more than 200 patients at risk
Federal officials say more than 200 patients may be at risk of fungal meningitis after surgical procedures at clinics in a Mexico border town
Brownsville, Texas – Federal officials say more than 200 patients may be at risk of fungal meningitis after surgical procedures at clinics in a Mexico border city.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday it is cooperating with the Mexican health ministry and US state and local health departments in responding to an outbreak of patients traveling across the border from Brownsville, Texas, to Matamoros .
Authorities have identified and closed two clinics linked to the outbreak, Riverside Surgical Center and Clinica K-3.
The Mexican Ministry of Health sent the CDC a list of 221 American patients who may be at risk of meningitis based on surgical procedures recorded at any clinic from January to May 13. Three additional patients have also been identified who are not on the list. The CDC said the total number of people in the United States known to be possible contacts stood at 224.
CDC is working with more than two dozen state and local health departments to contact people at possible risk and urge them to go to their nearest medical facility for testing. Meningitis testing includes an MRI and a lumbar puncture, also known as a spinal tap.
Last week, the CDC issued a warning to US residents to cancel surgery in Matamoros after it said five people in Texas had developed suspected cases of fungal meningitis. One of them died. The CDC said Wednesday that a second person with a suspected case has also died.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the protective covering of the brain and spinal cord and must be treated immediately. Symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, confusion, and sensitivity to light. Cases of meningitis can be caused by viruses, bacteria, trauma, or fungi.
Patients in Texas started showing symptoms three days to six weeks after surgery in Matamoros.
Experts say people leaving the US for prescription drugs, dental procedures, surgery and other medical treatment — also known as medical tourism — is common. Mexico, Canada, India and Thailand are all popular destinations.