TEXAS – The Texas Department of State Health Services is alerting the public and healthcare professionals about suspected cases of fungal meningitis among Texas residents who got surgery in Matamoros, Mexico.
Officials said an ongoing public health investigation found at least five affected patients. One person died, and four are currently hospitalized.
Health officials said all five patients traveled from Texas to Matamoros to get surgical procedures that involved an epidural, which is an anesthetic injected into the area around the spinal column.
Health authorities in the United States and Mexico are investigating the source of the infections, whether the cases are linked, and whether there are more cases.
“It is very important that people who have recently had medical procedures in Mexico monitor themselves for symptoms of meningitis,” said DSHS Commissioner Jennifer Shuford, MD, MPH. “Meningitis, especially when caused by bacteria or fungus, can be a life-threatening illness unless treated promptly.”
Officials said people should consider canceling or postponing any elective surgeries, including liposuction, involving epidural anesthesia in Matamoros until there is evidence those procedures do not pose a significant risk of infection.
If you had surgery involving an epidural in Matamoros at any time in 2023, contact a doctor and tell them about the risk of fungal infection, and seek care if you develop meningitis symptoms.
Meningitis is swelling of the protective covering of the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi or trauma. Common symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, confusion and sensitivity to light. In these cases, symptoms began three days to six weeks after surgery in Matamoros. The patients range in age from their 30s to their 50s.
DSHS urges health care professionals to consider fungal infection in patients with symptoms of central nervous system infection who received surgical care in Matamoros. They should notify their local health department about any suspected case of fungal meningitis connected to this outbreak.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a travel advisory at wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/alert/fungal-infections-mexico and has resources for people considering getting health care in other countries at wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/medical-tourism.