Two people have died from suspected cases of fungal meningitis after returning to the U.S. from Mexico.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning last week after five Texans were diagnosed with the infection after getting surgery in Matamoros.
The patients reportedly all had procedures under epidural anesthesia at either the River Side Surgical Center or Clinica K-3.
The CDC said the Mexican Ministry of Health sent over a list of 221 U.S. patients who might be at risk for meningitis based on records at the clinics.
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As of May 24, the CDC said it has identified nine probable cases of meningitis. In those cases, the CDC said the patients were experiencing symptoms, but their spinal taps are pending or unknown. The agency has also confirmed that nine patients had spinal tap test results come back suggesting meningitis.
"Meningitis, especially when caused by bacteria or fungus, can be a life-threatening illness unless treated promptly," said Texas Department of State Health Services Commissioner Dr. Jennifer Shuford.
Symptoms of fungal meningitis include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, confusion and sensitivity to light.
The CDC is urging people who had epidural anesthesia at either of the two clinics in Matamoros this year to seek medical attention even if they do not have symptoms.
"Starting treatment right away greatly increases the likelihood of survival," the CDC states.
Mexico has attracted "medical tourism" as Americans face the high cost for health care. However, the CDC warns of risks of going outside the U.S. for medical procedures. It advises people to research their medical provider, obtain travel health insurance and ask about activities to avoid following the procedure.
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