Fri, 22 Sep 2023

Washington [US], May 28 (ANI): US and Mexico authorities have urged the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency of international concern over a deadly fungal outbreak, CBS News reported citing a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official.

The decision of the US and Mexico authorities comes after recruiters lured hundreds of patients from multiple countries and 24 US states to two facilities in Mexico for cosmetic surgeries that might have exposed them to the fungus, as per the news report.

The CDC is currently monitoring the condition of 195 people across the US who got operated, involving epidural anaesthesia at the now-shuttered River Side Surgical Center and Clinica K-3 in Mexico. 14 are "suspected" and 11 are "probable" cases of fungal meningitis" which is the infection of the brain or spinal cord on the basis of their symptoms or test results, CBS News reported.

As per the news report, two of the patients have died while six potential cases have been ruled out since the CDC's last update on Wednesday. The CDC warned that meningitis can quickly become life-threatening once symptoms emerge, according to CBS News report.

Recent test results from authorities in Mexico have sparked concern regarding a repeat from another deadly outbreak that was related to surgeries elsewhere in Mexico earlier this year, as per the CBS News report.

During that outbreak, nearly half of all patients diagnosed with meningitis died. A World Health Organization committee will have to be convened before an international emergency is declared by the agency's director-general.

WHO spokesperson Margaret Ann Haris in an email said, "[We] are notified of hundreds of events every day and assess each one," CBS News reported. She did not say whether such notification had occurred from the US and said that communications with member states are confidential.

Authorities have asked Americans who had an operation involving epidural anaesthesia at either of these clinics since January to immediately visit an emergency room or an urgent care facility, even if they do not currently believe they have symptoms, as per the CBS News report.

People from 24 states were potentially exposed during surgeries at one of the two clinics, as per the list provided by Mexican authorities to the CDC. So far, most of the patients with symptoms have been female. One probable male case has been identified with symptoms of meningitis.

One of the two patients who died was also an organ donor, with five different recipients around the country earlier this year who could be at risk, as per the news report.

The CDC's Dallas Smith said, "All have been notified and are under evaluation." While speaking at a webinar hosted by the Mycoses Study Group, Smith said they were working with transplant centres and other partners to properly manage the patients who had these organs transplanted into their bodies. (ANI)

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