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Death toll rises to 7 in fungal meningitis outbreak; cases at 34, 161 at risk

One of the medical clinics suspended by Mexican health authorities in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, on May 19, 2023.

Enlarge / One of the medical clinics suspended by Mexican health authorities in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico, on May 19, 2023. (credit: Getty | AFP)

Three more people in the US have died from fungal meningitis in an outbreak linked to tainted surgeries in Mexico, bringing the total deaths to seven, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

The total case count remains unchanged from an update earlier this month, with 34 cases in the US: nine confirmed, 10 probable, and 15 suspected. Health officials are investigating 161 others who may have been exposed.

The outbreak is linked to cosmetic surgeries involving epidural anesthesia at two clinics in Matamoros, Mexico, just across the border from Brownsville, Texas. Mexican and US officials suspect that a component of the anesthetic was contaminated, resulting in the pathogenic fungus Fusarium solani being injected directly into people’s spinal cords. The tainted surgeries are thought to have occurred between January 1, 2023, to May 13, 2023, around when the clinics were shut down by local health officials.

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