Authorities in Mexico said on Thursday that they were looking for hundreds of people, including Americans, who may be at risk of developing fungal meningitis following medical treatment close to the border.
The announcement was made a day after the United States warned that suspected fungus infections had really led to severe health issues and even fatalities among American nationals leaving Matamoros, Mexico.
The health secretary of Tamaulipas state, home to Matamoros, which is located over the border from Brownsville, Texas, said that 400 people were being tracked, of whom about 80 were from the United States.
Vicente Joel Hernandez told AFP that “they’re going to lie to deny that they are contaminated.”
The death of one American and the infection of seven other people led to the closure of two facilities, River Side Surgical Centre and Clinica K-3, he said.
The affected visitors underwent medical or surgical procedures, including liposuction, that involved injecting anaesthetic into the region around the spine, according to the U.S. federal authorities.
Before the problem is resolved, the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention advised postponing any therapy in Matamoros that involves an epidural injection.
Anyone in the city showing symptoms of fungal meningitis after receiving such an injection was advised to seek immediate medical attention at a hospital emergency room.
It also said that fungal meningitis infections are not contagious or spread from person to person. The symptoms include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, disorientation, and light sensitivity.
Mexico is one of the most popular destinations for medical travellers, largely as a result of Americans who cross the border for procedures ranging from oral surgery to plastic surgery and cancer treatment.