The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently received reports of several U.S. residents coming home with an antibiotic-resistant infection after receiving invasive procedures in Mexico. The agency advises anyone planning to get surgery abroad to take the necessary precautions.
In a travel notice, the CDC reports of several cases of U.S. residents who came home from Mexico with infections caused by the antibiotic-resistant bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa. All the travelers affected by the superbug evidently had invasive surgery in Tijuana, Mexico, with most of them having had weight-loss surgery.
About half of the infected got their surgeries at the Grand View Hospital, while the others had their procedures done at other clinics and hospitals in the area. So far, the CDC has confirmed 11 cases by early January.
Baja California health officials confirmed that there was a contamination in the operating rooms at the Grand View Hospital but say that it was neither the surgical technique nor the doctors’ capacity that is to blame. As such, Mexican authorities temporarily shut down the Grand View Hospital in December, but it has reportedly reopened and is conducting surgeries again.
As for the U.S. residents who are planning to go abroad for any medical procedure, the CDC advises them to research on the doctor who will be doing the procedure as well as the hospital or clinic where the procedure will be done, to look for clinics and hospitals that are accredited by international organizations, to contact a travel medicine specialist in the United States at least a month before the trip, and to ask the hospital to provide a complete copy of their medical records in English for follow-up appointments.
Each year, millions of people travel to other countries for medical treatments. Mexico, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Israel, and India are just some of the most popular countries for “medical tourism.”
According to the CDC, Pseudomonas is a kind of bacteria that can be widely found in the environment but is one of the bacteria becoming more antibiotic-resistant. In the United States, Pseudomonas are rare and considered difficult to treat because they do not respond to the available antibiotics.