After patients have been diagnosed with fungal meningitis infections from those who had procedures in Matamoros, Mexico, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a travel advisory.
Matamoros, which is just along the Texas and Mexico border, is the epicenter of this outbreak causing a Level 2 advisory. Those who had medical or surgical procedures in the area have contracted infections and have led to serious illness and death.
Travelers are to “practice enhanced precautions” when visiting the region and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of infection.
After the infections have come to light from these medical procedures, The Texas Department of State Health Services has also issued an alert. This past Tuesday, the Department announced that one patient has died while four have been hospitalized.
The CDC said that procedures performed at clinics in Matamoros, including River Side Surgical Center and Clinica K-3 which involved an injection of an anesthetic around the spinal column is the origin of this outbreak.
They urged those who have had a procedure that involved an epidural infection since January 1 to monitor their symptoms closely. And if any adverse effects (fever, stiff neck, headache, confusion, nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light) are felt to immediately seek medical help.
This infection can be treated with IV and oral medications and although it is not contagious, it needs to be treated upon the onset of symptoms being felt.
Medical tourism, those who seek to travel for cheaper solutions, is a big part of the border community’s economy. Multiple reports show that over 1 million people in the U.S. travel yearly to Mexico for health services, where they can save sometimes up to (and more than) 50% on their bills.
The CDC urges those to do their homework before selecting any procedures and patients must research the healthcare providers and facility ahead of time and maybe more importantly purchase travel health insurance.