Mexico Post-Op Infections Prompt US Health Alert

Mexican authorities said Thursday that they were trying to locate several hundred people, including U.S. nationals, potentially at risk of developing fungal meningitis after medical treatment near the border.

The announcement came a day after the United States warned that suspected fungal infections had led to severe illness and even death among U.S. residents returning from the Mexican city of Matamoros.

Around 400 people were being traced, including roughly 80 from the United States, according to the health minister of Tamaulipas state, home to Matamoros, which sits across the border from Brownsville, Texas.

“They’re going to be located to rule out that they are infected,” Vicente Joel Hernandez told AFP.

Two clinics, River Side Surgical Center and Clinica K-3, have been closed following the death of an American and the infection of seven other people, he said.

According to the U.S. government, the affected travelers had medical or surgical procedures, including liposuction, that involved injecting anesthetic into the area around the spinal column.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised canceling any procedure that involves an epidural injection in Matamoros until the problem is resolved.

It urged anyone experiencing symptoms of fungal meningitis after having such an injection in the city to go to a hospital emergency department immediately.

The symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, confusion and sensitivity to light, it said, adding that fungal meningitis infections are not contagious or transmitted person-to-person.

Mexico is one of the world’s top medical tourism destinations, largely due to U.S. residents crossing the border for everything from dental work to cosmetic surgery and cancer treatment.

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