A second American has died of suspected fungal meningitis after undergoing surgery in Mexico, US officials announced Wednesday.
At least another 224 other Americans are at risk of contracting the deadly infection, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned.
The outbreak is linked to patients who received an epidural anesthesia injection during procedures at River Side Surgical Center and Clinica K-3 in the border town of Matamoros.
Both clinics, which lie across the border from Brownsville, Texas, have since been closed as officials investigate the deadly outbreak.
A Texan died from the same suspected affliction earlier this month, prompting the CDC to issue a travel advisory Tuesday for US residents seeking medical care across the border.
The Mexican Ministry of Health sent a list of 221 US patients who had gone under epidural anesthesia at either clinic between January and May. Three additional patients not on the list have also been identified, the CDC said.
Mexico has been grappling with the outbreak since late last year, but the US only recognized the spread earlier this month when five people from Texas who had procedures there developed suspected cases of fungal meningitis.
“It is very important that people who have recently had medical procedures in Mexico monitor themselves for symptoms of meningitis,” said Commissioner Jennifer Shuford, Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner, in a statement.
“Meningitis, especially when caused by bacteria or fungus, can be a life-threatening illness unless treated promptly.”
Meningitis is the swelling of the protective covering of the brain and spinal cord and should be treated urgently. Symptoms include fever, headache, a stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, confusion and sensitivity to light. Cases of meningitis can be caused by viruses, bacteria, trauma or fungi.
Patients in the Texas cases started showing symptoms three days to six weeks after surgery in Matamoros.
People leaving the US for prescription drugs, dental procedures, surgeries and other medical treatment — also known as medical tourism — is common, experts say. Mexico, Canada, India and Thailand are all popular destinations.
With Post wires