(WFLA) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating a suspected outbreak of fungal meningitis that is believed to be linked to surgeries done in Mexico.
According to the CDC, the Mexican Ministry of Health released a list of 221 Americans who could have been exposed to fungal meningitis after having surgical procedures under epidural anesthesia at two clinics in Matamoros, Mexico — a city just across the border from Brownsville, Texas.
The two clinics were identified as River Side Surgical Center and Clinica K-3. After other patients not on the list were found, the CDC reported 224 potential exposures.
Officials said those who had epidural anesthesia at these clinics from Jan. 1 to May 13, 2023, must see a medical professional immediately and request to be evaluated for fungal meningitis, even if they do not have symptoms.
Patients can then be examined with an MRI and a spinal tap to check for signs of infection.
If caught early and treated with antifungal medications, patients have a higher chance of survival, according to the CDC. Medication may have to be taken for months to completely eradicate the disease.
Experts said even if a patient tests negative, they must monitor themselves for symptoms for four weeks.
The CDC said symptoms include:
- Stiff neck
- Nausea and vomiting
- Photophobia (eyes being more sensitive to light)
- Altered mental status (confusion)
Fungal meningitis infections are not contagious, according to the CDC.
So far, two deaths have been reported. There are nine suspected cases, nine probable cases, and 206 cases under investigation.