The women, reported to be in their 30s and 50s, were diagnosed with fungal meningitis, a fungal infection that causes serious inflammation and swelling of the brain and spinal cord's lining.
The five women traveled from Texas to clinics in Matamoros, a city located near the Mexican border. They then developed the potentially fatal infection three days to six weeks after their surgeries. (Related: Oregon hospital reports outbreak of rare fungal superbug.)
The surgeries took place between February and April. Health officials in the U.S. have raised the alarm over the five cases, warning Americans to be wary of cheap medical procedures in Matamoros.
Experts still don't know what type of fungus caused the brain infection, but cases of Candida auris infection are currently on the rise in America. The recorded cases were linked to hospitals not sterilizing equipment properly.
Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Texas Department of Health issued a warning over the cases on May 16.
The agencies reported that the five patients were given an epidural, a procedure that involves injecting an anesthetic into the area around the spinal cord to numb pain. The women visited clinics like Clinica K-3 and River Side Surgical Center, which offers cosmetic procedures such as Brazilian butt lifts and liposuction.
As of writing, experts still haven't confirmed if the five cases were linked and where the patients were infected. Officials are monitoring for more new cases.
The CDC is urging women with treatments booked in Matamoros that require an epidural injection to cancel their appointments.
Dr. Jennifer Shuford from the Texas Department of Health also advises people who have recently undergone medical procedures in Mexico to monitor themselves for signs and symptoms of meningitis.
According to Shuford, meningitis caused by bacteria or fungi can be life-threatening if left untreated.
There is currently a thriving medical tourism industry south of the U.S. border, where procedures are often offered at a fraction of the cost of those in America.
According to figures, at least one million Americans cross the border to get medical procedures every year.
Meningitis is characterized by the swelling of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord following an infection.
Meningitis can be caused by infection with fungi like Blastomyces, which has triggered an outbreak in Michigan, and C. albicans, the fungus that causes thrush.
If you have fungal meningitis, you can't spread the infection to others. However, you may experience the following symptoms, which may appear gradually:
You may also have other symptoms, such as:
Severe cases of fungal meningitis can cause patients to suffer seizures, fall into a coma and die.
You may be at high risk for fungal meningitis:
To prevent fungal meningitis, avoid exposure to environments that may contain fungal elements.
If you are immunosuppressed, like those who have HIV, try to avoid bird droppings and avoid digging and dusting activities, particularly if you live in a geographic region where fungi like Blastomyces, Coccidioides or Histoplasma thrive.
Some guidelines recommend that those with HIV should get antifungal prophylaxis if they reside in a geographic area where there are high incidences of fungal infections.
Hospital treatment for fungal meningitis involves several courses of antifungal medications, which are often administered through an IV drip. Patients may be given medications for at least six months to one year.
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Watch the video below to know more about a dangerous fungal infection spreading through the U.S. at an "alarming rate."
This video is from the Data Dumper channel on Brighteon.com.