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Death toll reaches 6 in fungal meningitis outbreak tied to surgical procedures in Mexican border city

The death toll has risen to six in an outbreak of fungal meningitis that’s tied to surgical procedures in a city along the U.S.-Mexico border, and health officials say they have not been able to reach everyone who may be at risk of infection.

More than 200 patients could be at risk of fungal meningitis after having surgical procedures in Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, Texas, between Jan. 1 to May 13 of this year.

But incomplete contact information has hindered efforts to reach nearly half the people who need to see a doctor for evaluation and testing, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesman Tom Skinner said Tuesday.

WHAT IS BACTERIAL MENINGITIS? SIGNS, SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT FOR THE INFECTION

Meningitis is the swelling of the protective covering of the brain and spinal cord and should be treated urgently. Symptoms include fever, headache, a stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, confusion and sensitivity to light. Cases of meningitis can be caused by viruses, bacteria, trauma or fungi.

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Patients in the Texas cases started showing symptoms three days to six weeks after surgery in Matamoros.

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