• Mexican authorities have provided a list of patients potentially at risk
  • There are now two deaths associated with the outbreak
  • The clinics associated with the outbreak closed on May 13

Another individual has died amid a suspected fungal meningitis outbreak among people who got surgical procedures at clinics in Mexico. More than 200 have been identified to be at risk.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) first issued the advisory about the suspected outbreak on May 17. At the time, five patients who underwent cosmetic procedures at clinics in Matamoros, Mexico were hospitalized and diagnosed with suspected fungal meningitis. Back then, one of the five patients was reported to have died.

In an update released on Wednesday, the CDC noted that the Mexican Ministry of Health has provided a list of U.S. patients who may be at risk for meningitis based on records of surgical procedures.

The list includes 221 U.S. patients who got their procedures at the two clinics associated with the outbreak — River Side Surgical Center and Clinica K-3. These individuals had their procedures done this year until May 13, when the clinics were closed. There were also a few patients who were not on the list, the agency noted, so the total number of people who had possible exposure is up to 224.

Health authorities are now working together to notify these patients so they can be advised to go to a clinic and get tested for meningitis via MRI and a spinal tap, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.

"When you arrive, tell triage and emergency room staff and health care providers that you need to be evaluated for possible fungal meningitis," the CDC noted. "Inform them that you recently had epidural anesthesia at one of the clinics in Mexico involved in this outbreak."

Among the 224 people at risk, nine are considered "probable cases," as their spinal tap results "suggest meningitis." Nine others are "suspected cases" with symptoms that align with meningitis but whose spinal tap results are still pending. The rest are still under investigation.

As of the update, two deaths have been recorded, both of whom had "probable" cases. The CDC stressed that fungal meningitis is not contagious.

Given the outbreak, the CDC is advising members of the public who have upcoming procedures in Matamoros involving an epidural to re-consider.

"Cancel any upcoming elective procedure that involves an epidural injection of an anesthetic in Matamoros, Mexico, until there is evidence that there is no longer a risk for infection at these clinics," the agency said.

So far, the exact organism behind the outbreak is still under investigation, but tests on patients so far suggest a fungal origin. Efforts are also underway to see whether any other clinics may be associated with the outbreak.

Those who have had a procedure in Matamoros involving an epidural are being advised to watch out for symptoms of fungal meningitis. These include vomiting, nausea, fever, headache, stiff neck and sensitivity to light. If they develop these symptoms, they should go to an emergency department and inform them of the procedure they had in Mexico.

"(O)nce symptoms start, they can quickly become severe and life-threatening," the CDC noted. "Early testing and treatment can save lives."

A general view of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta