Anesthesia causes meningitis outbreak in northern Mexico

The outbreak of meningitis that was detected this month in northern Mexico and which has left two dead was caused by a contaminated medicine used for anesthesia, the Mexican government announced Thursday.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said during his morning conference that the outbreak that arose in the border city of Matamoros, Tamaulipas state, was caused by “a drug used as anesthesia for plastic surgery that was contaminated.”

López Obrador confirmed that the meningitis outbreak has left deaths, but did not offer figures. Meningitis is an infectious disease that causes inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord.

The announcement comes a day after US authorities reported two deaths from possible meningitis and some 224 patients who could be at risk of the disease after undergoing surgeries between January and May 13 at the River Side Surgical Center and K-3 Clinic in Matamoros that were closed after the outbreak was detected.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an alert last week warning US residents to cancel their surgeries in Matamoros and noted that five people from Texas who had undergone operations there had developed possible cases of fungal meningitis. . One of them died. A second person who was a suspected case has also died.

The Secretary of Health of Tamaulipas, Joel Vicente Hernández Navarro, told local media last week that three patients infected with meningitis were confirmed with the fusarium solani fungus, the same one that was detected in the cases that were registered last year in the state. northern Durango.

Hernández Navarro pointed out that 11 patients were being studied, of whom seven were from the United States and four from Mexico.

The new outbreak of meningitis occurs six months after a similar event that occurred in Durango where thirty people died and some 76 were infected after undergoing surgeries in which a contaminated drug was used as anesthesia.

The Mexican health authorities reported that the meningitis outbreak was caused by the microscopic fungus Fusarium solani. Most of those infected were women undergoing obstetric procedures. All the patients received a type of anesthesia known as a spinal block.