CDC: 2 Dead of Suspected Meningitis After Mexico Surgeries

Around 220 Americans may have been exposed, agency warns
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2023 1:39 PM CDT
CDC: 2 Dead of Suspected Meningitis After Mexico Surgeries
Motorists pay toll at Gateway International Bridge in Brownsville, Texas, to cross into Matamoros, Mexico.   (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald via AP, File)

Americans who had surgery under epidural anesthesia at either of two clinics in Matamoros, Mexico, this year should get tested for fungal meningitis immediately whether they are showing symptoms or not, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. According to a CDC alert, 220 people in the US could have been exposed at River Side Surgical Center or Clinica K-3 from Jan. 1 to May 13. Two deaths in the US have been linked to the outbreak, and the CDC says there are 11 more probable cases based on test results and 14 suspected cases based on symptoms, the New York Times reports.

Authorities say the people at risk traveled from the US for surgical procedures including liposuction and breast augmentation at clinics in the border town, which is directly across from Brownsville, Texas, the Times reports. The CDC says patients started showing symptoms of meningitis—which can include "fever, headache, a stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, confusion, and sensitivity to light"—anywhere from three days to six weeks after surgery, reports the AP.

The CDC warned that once symptoms appear, they can "quickly become severe and life-threatening." The agency urged Americans planning to have elective surgeries involving epidural anesthesia in Matamoros to call off the procedures "until there is evidence that there is no longer a risk of infection at these clinics." (More meningitis stories.)

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