Surgeries in Mexico Linked to Antibiotic-Resistant Infections in US, CDC Says


All travelers diagnosed with life-threatening bacteria, carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa or CRPA, had undergone invasive medical procedures. The most common procedure was surgery for weight loss, the CDC said. The agency did not say when surgeries occurred or how many patients were infected.

"Infections caused by these drug-resistant Pseudomonas are rare in the United States and difficult to treat," said the CDC. Patients usually require long and "complex antibacterial combinations and treatments" to defeat the infection.

Almost half of the infected patients were operated at Grand View Hospital in Tijuana; the rest had undergone surgeries in other hospitals and clinics in the region.

The CDC says the Mexican government has closed the Grand View Hospital "until further notice," but the agency still suggests travelers do not undergo surgery until authorities confirm that resistant bacteria are no longer present.

Medical tourism

"Medical tourism", or travel to another country for medical care, is a growing trend around the world. Between 11 million and 14 million people travel each year for medical care, according to industry estimates. Major destinations include Costa Rica, India, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey and the United States, according to Patients Beyond Borders, a guide to medical tourism. Many people are attracted by the potential of lower costs.
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The Medical Tourism Association, an international trade organization that acts as a liaison between patients and international suppliers, has estimated the industry's value at $ 100 billion by 2016-17.

According to their latest research, about 72% of patients using medical tourism traveled for cancer, spine and other orthopedic treatments, followed by plastic and aesthetic surgery, as well as cardiovascular and neurosurgery procedures.

More than 50% of surgeries cost between $ 10,000 and $ 50,000, while 16% are between $ 50,000 and $ 100,000, according to the survey.

Recommended care

There are significant risks in traveling abroad for medical treatment, the CDC warns.

"Resistance to antibiotics is a global problem, and resistant bacteria may be more common in other countries than in the United States," the agency said.

The CDC has several suggestions for anyone who thinks of medical tourism, including researching the health care provider or surgeon, as well as the clinic or hospital. Choose internationally accredited facilities and be aware that the standards for providers and clinics in other countries may differ from those in the United States.


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