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Deadly fungal meningitis cases nearly double as CDC rushes to find exposed

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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)

Cases have nearly doubled in a deadly outbreak of fungal meningitis linked to tainted cosmetic surgeries in Matamoros, Mexico, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this week.

To date, there have been 34 cases identified in the outbreak: 18 suspected, 10 probable, and six confirmed. That's up from just 18 cases—nine suspected, nine probable, zero confirmed—late last month. The death toll from the cases has risen from two to four since then. The CDC is investigating 172 other people who are thought to have been exposed.

Health officials in the US and Mexico suspect that the infections stem from cosmetic procedures, including liposuction, that involved epidural anesthesia, a component of which may have been contaminated with the fungus Fusarium solani. The US cases are linked to procedures performed from January 1, 2023, to May 13 at two specific clinics in Matamoros, which sits across the border from Brownsville, Texas. Both clinics—River Side Surgical Center and Clinica K-3—have since been shuttered by Mexican health officials, who have also closed other area clinics amid the investigation.

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