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.
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.
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.