US, Mexico ask WHO to declare emergency over deadly fungal outbreak


Authorities in the United States and Mexico have asked the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency of global concern. deadly fungal outbreakan official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday. The request comes after recruiters lured hundreds of patients from multiple countries and 24 U.S. states to two facilities in Mexico to undergo cosmetic surgery that may have exposed them to the fungus. .

The CDC is currently monitoring the status of 195 people who have undergone surgery across the United States. epidural anesthesia at the now-closed Riverside Surgical Center and Clinica K-3 in Mexico.

14 are ‘probable’ and 11 are ‘probable’ cases. fungal meningitis — Brain or spinal cord infection — Based on symptoms or laboratory results. Two of these patients died. Six potential cases have been ruled out since the CDC’s last update on Wednesday.

Most reported headaches before the infection worsened, progressing to symptoms such as fever, vomiting, neck pain, and blurred vision. The CDC warns that meningitis can quickly become life-threatening once symptoms begin.

Recent test results by Mexican authorities have raised fears that another deadly outbreak linked to surgeries elsewhere in the country earlier this year could return. Almost half of the patients diagnosed with meningitis died in this epidemic.

WHO Committee Before the head of the agency can declare an international emergency, it will first need to be convened. Countries are required to notify WHO of all potential emergencies, but not all reach that stage eventually.

”[We] Hundreds of incidents are notified and evaluated each day,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Ann Harris said in an email.

He declined to confirm whether the United States had made such a notice, citing confidential communications with member states.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to a request for comment.

authorities urged Since January, Americans who have undergone surgery involving an epidural at one of these clinics should go to an emergency room or emergency care facility immediately, even if they don’t currently believe they have symptoms. .

person from 24 states People as far north as Alaska may have been exposed during surgery in one of two clinics, according to a list Mexican authorities provided to the CDC. The majority of her 178 are Texas residents.

To date, most of the symptomatic patients have been female, although one male case has probably been identified as exhibiting symptoms of meningitis.

One of the two patients who died was also an organ donor, and earlier this year five different transplant recipients may be at risk nationwide.

“Everyone has been notified and is under evaluation,” CDC’s Dallas Smith said. ‘ said. webinar Friday is sponsored by the mycosis study group.

The consortium will work with the CDC to Guidance for doctors Treatment of patients who may have become infected due to procedures.

“Since patients in Mexico, the United States, Canada and Colombia were on exposure lists, we would like to ensure and provide situational awareness to these countries through public health emergencies of international concern. I thought,” Smith said.

‘I’m worried about the high mortality rate’

Investigators now believe that the two facilities, located near the Mexico-Texas border, attracted surgical patients from all over the United States.

“There are agents in the US that act as patient recruiters, and they connect US patients to these clinics for specific care and specific procedures, such as cosmetic surgery,” Smith said. said.

After in-depth interviews with several patients, officials believe many wanted surgery such as liposuction, breast augmentation and Brazilian butt lifts.

Authorities have not yet confirmed the cause of the outbreak. Results to date from patients in the United States have been inconclusive for tracing the fungus.

However, testing in Mexico yielded positive results for a fungus known as Fusarium solani in spinal fluid samples. This same type of fungus was identified in a deadly outbreak that began late last year in Durango, Mexico, and was also associated with surgery.

“While we do not know if these two epidemics are related, the fact that the same organism likely causes this fungal meningitis raises concerns about the high mortality rate. It is very important to admit patients early, even if they are “asymptomatic,” Smith said.

The drugs used during the anesthesia in this outbreak could be contaminated with the epidural itself or other drugs such as morphine used during surgery, Smith said.

“There is currently a shortage of medicines in Mexico, and there may be a black market where medicines may have been contaminated,” Smith said.

Another theory is that there were deficiencies in infection control practices to prevent contamination during surgery, which is now believed to have contributed to another outbreak.

“The epidemics we’re experiencing right now are pretty similar, and could result in such high mortality rates and devastating families and communities,” Smith said.


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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