‘Unprecedented’ Meningitis Outbreak In Mexico Leaves 35 Dead

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Gretchen Clayson Contributor
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An “unprecedented” outbreak of meningitis in northern Mexico has affected nearly 80 people over the past few months, leaving 35 dead.

Health officials in the Mexican state of Durango have been announcing new cases of aseptic meningitis nearly every day since the first case was confirmed late last year, Reuters reported. Calling the outbreak “an unprecedented situation in the world,” Durango’s state government is working with “all levels” of the Mexican government to find a solution and seek out the best treatment for patients, per the outlet.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the brain and spinal cord that can be caused by either a virus or bacteria, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In some mild cases, people with meningitis recover within seven to 10 days with no treatment. In more serious cases, hospitalization may be necessary.

While authorities have not determined the cause of the outbreak, those infected had all undergone surgeries in private hospitals that used spinal anesthesia, Reuters reported.

“This disease was not passed from person to person,” Mexico’s Public Health Department said in November according to the Associated Press. “This is a case where the infection was (spread) directly into the central nervous system through anesthetic procedures.”

Though the department blamed contamination, they have been unable to determine whether the issue stemmed from the medication itself or if the contamination came from how the anesthetic medication was handled, the outlet reported. (RELATED: Flesh-Eating Bacteria Sickness Surges In Florida Since Hurricane Ian)

“It would be speculating to attribute the cases to the bottles used or stored or applied as anesthetics to patients,” Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell told AP.

World Health Organization officials are monitoring the situation and working with Mexican officials as they investigate the cause, Reuters reported.