Fungal meningitis outbreak that claimed lives of two SETX women continues
Published 12:38 am Thursday, July 6, 2023
Local, state and national health organizations issued warnings after two area women died from fungal meningitis following cosmetic medical procedures in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico.
On June 26, the Beaumont Health Department became the latest to address the public regarding the alert. This was after the death of Jody Adkins.
Adkins, 39, of Kountze was the second area victim to die after traveling to Mexico for a medical procedure. She died June 21 at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.
The first local victim was Lauren Robinson, 29, of Vidor. She died May 31 at Jennie Sealy Hospital in Galveston.
The Centers for Disease Control said anyone who had procedures under epidural anesthesia in River Side Surgical Center and Clinic K-3 from Jan. 1 to May 13 is at risk for fungal meningitis.
The Mexican Ministry of Health provided the CDC with a list of U.S. residents who had procures at the two clinics in the above mentioned time frame. Both of the clinics were closed May 13, according to the CDC.
“Using this list, CDC and state and local health departments are trying to reach all people at risk but continue to face challenges. Some of the listed contact information is incorrect or incomplete and some at-risk persons have been identified who were not on the list,” according to the CDC.
“These people are being reached through outreach efforts like media and social media and through family, friends, and other contacts found during public health investigations.”
Anyone who is at risk for fungal meningitis should go to the nearest emergency room right away to be tested. Testing is done by a lumbar puncture, also called a spinal tap. People who are infected should begin antifungal treatment as soon as possible.
Fungal meningitis is a rare, life threatening fungal infection causing the swelling of the areas around the brain and spinal cord. A person may become infected during medical procedures if all infection control practices are not followed, according to the CDC.
As of June 23, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services said there are 140 people under investigation who had surgery in Matamoros in 2023 but have no known symptoms.
There are nine suspected cases with people whose symptoms are consistent with meningitis (test results pending or unknown), seven probable cases (test results suggest meningitis; fungus not isolated), eight confirmed cases (fungus detected in samples) and six Texas residents who were part of the outbreak and have died as a result of their illnesses.