13.06.2024

Two Texans die from fungal BRAIN infection linked to cut-price plastic surgeries

Another American has died after getting in , health officials have revealed. The individual — thought to be from — died from a fungal brain infection which US doctors believe was contracted from un-sterilized equipment south of the border.

They are the second person to have died from fungal meningitis after traveling to Mexico for discounted plastic surgeries after a Texas woman died last week.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention () believes more than 200 Americans who traveled to clinics in Matamoros between January and May 13 could be at risk.

It comes after mounting warnings over medical tourism, which are much cheaper but pose dangers because they are not as well regulated.

Some 1.2million US residents travel to Mexico annually to undergo elective surgery at a discount, according to Medical Tourism Mexico, which advertises that patients can save up to 80% on a comparable procedure in the US

Some 1.2million US residents travel to Mexico annually to undergo elective surgery at a discount, according to Medical Tourism Mexico, which advertises that patients can save up to 80% on a comparable procedure in the US

The above map shows the location of Matamoros, where the procedures took place. People are being urged not to go there for medical procedures

The above map shows the location of Matamoros, where the procedures took place. People are being urged not to go there for medical procedures

Health authorities in Mexico have now closed River Side Surgical Center (left) and Clinica K-3 (right) which have been linked to the fungal meningitis outbreak

All the patients had got surgery in Matamoros, on the Texan border, where two clinics — River Side Surgical Center and Clinica K-3 — have now been closed.

Officials are trying to contact anyone who visited the clinics since January to urge them to get tested, saying it can take more than six weeks for symptoms to appear.

All the patients had gone for cosmetic surgeries including liposuction, where fat is removed from areas of the body, between January and May 13.

A total of 221 US patients who visited clinics are at risk, Health authorities in Mexico say, while the CDC said they have identified a further three potential patients.

There is a booming health tourism industry in Mexico, where medical procedures can be offered at a fraction of the price of those in the US.

About 1.2million Americans go to the country every year for procedures.

More than two dozen state and local health departments are currently working with the CDC to contact all patients who are at risk of infection.

The CDC has already warned Americans to cancel all surgeries they have booked in Matamoros, Mexico, fearing they could also become infected.

Dr Jennifer Shuford, from the Texas Department of Health, said last week: ‘It is very important that people who have recently had medical procedures in Mexico monitor themselves for symptoms of meningitis.

‘Meningitis, especially when caused by bacteria or fungus, can be a life-threatening illness unless treated promptly.’

Patients likely became infected after receiving an epidural, when a needle is used to inject an anesthetic into the area around the spinal cord to numb pain.

Meningitis is a swelling of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord due to an infection.

Early signs of the disease include fever, headaches, stiff neck and sensitivity to light.

But if these are not treated, then patients can progress into suffering seizures, falling into a coma and dying from the infection.

Picture of cars crossing the border from Brownsville, Texas, to Matamoros, Mexico

Picture of cars crossing the border from Brownsville, Texas, to Matamoros, Mexico

Fungal infections can trigger meningitis including Blastomyces, which recently triggered an outbreak at a Michigan paper mill, and Candida albicans, the fungus behind thrush.

Treatment involves administering courses of antifungal medications, typically into the vein via an IV drip.

They may need to receive the drug for six months up to a year.

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