In a recent fungal meningitis outbreak at cosmetic procedure clinics in Mexico, four individuals from the United States have tragically lost their lives, prompting concerns about potential widespread infections.

Health officials have confirmed the fatalities and suspect many others might have gotten exposed to the deadly condition. Last month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel advisory advising travelers to exercise "enhanced precautions" in the affected area.

According to NBC News, approximately 200 people in the United States may have encountered the lethal fungal meningitis during their visits to two clinics in Matamoros, Mexico. These clinics offered procedures such as implants and liposuction, with the exposure primarily occurring in patients who underwent epidural anesthesia, as stated by health officials. The River Side Surgical Center and Clinica K-3, the two clinics involved, were subsequently closed on May 13, following the CDC's guidance.

The CDC has been actively collaborating with the Mexican Ministry of Health and the state and local health departments in the United States to address the outbreak among patients who traveled to Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas. Individuals who underwent procedures involving epidural anesthesia in the clinics from January 1 to May 13 are considered at risk for fungal meningitis and should seek medical attention, warned the CDC.

NBC News highlighted two potential causes for the outbreak: contaminated morphine used during cosmetic procedures and the reuse of medication vials. Nevertheless, the exact source of the outbreak remains undetermined. Dr. Tom Chiller, head of the fungal diseases branch at the CDC, speculated that the shortage of morphine at pharmacies may have created an environment where unscrupulous actors operated a black-market morphine business.

As part of their investigation, CDC officials are examining the possible involvement of other clinics in the outbreak. Presently, there have been four confirmed cases of fungal meningitis resulting from procedures performed at either of the two Matamoros clinics. Tragically, four individuals have succumbed to the outbreaks, according to CDC investigators. Symptoms in the Texas cases reportedly began to manifest between three days and six weeks after surgery in Matamoros.

The CDC emphasized that fungal meningitis does not spread from person to person, but rather develops when a fungal infection from another part of the body spreads to the brain or spinal cord. To ensure early detection, the CDC is urging individuals who visited River Side Surgical Center or Clinica K-3 between January 1 and May 13 and received epidural anesthesia to seek immediate medical attention and undergo testing for the fungal infection. Meningitis testing typically involves an MRI and a lumbar puncture, also known as a spinal tap.

Fungal meningitis infects the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord, causing inflammation of the delicate tissues encompassing these vital structures. Symptoms may include fever, headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, and confusion, as outlined by the CDC. Initial symptoms can be mild or absent, but once they manifest, they can rapidly progress to severe and life-threatening conditions.

Among the 179 individuals currently under investigation, there are 10 probable cases and 14 suspected cases, according to the CDC. Lab tests conducted for the CDC indicate that the specific fungus identified at the two clinics is Fusarium solani. Experts expressed concern due to a similar outbreak caused by F. solani in Mexico last year, which resulted in a 50% mortality rate, as reported by NBC News.