Investigation by CDC links outbreak among US medical tourists to Mexico facility

Published on : Thursday, December 23, 2021

An investigation led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has linked an outbreak of widely drug-resistant infections among US medical tourists in 2018 and 2019 to a single facility and surgeon in Mexico.

The results of the investigation were published last week in Emerging Infectious Diseases. It revealed that 38 US patients who traveled to Tijuana, Mexico, for bariatric surgery from January 2018 through December 2019 contracted an infection caused by carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa,whichis a virulent and devious pathogen causing severe illness.

Of the 38 patients, 31 were operated on by the same surgeon, with 27 undergoing surgery at the same facility.
That facility with multiple lapses in infection control by Mexican health authorities closed in March 2019. However, investigators warn that the prolonged outbreak highlights the increased risk of infections for the 750,000 US residents who travel abroad for medical care each year to Mexico and other places that have varying standards and regulations for infection control.

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