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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
July 9, 2019

Medical Tourism–Linked Infections

JAMA. 2019;322(2):108. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.9205

Twelve US patients have been diagnosed with Verona integron-encoded metallo-β-lactamase–producing carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa (VIM-CRPA), after undergoing invasive medical procedures in Mexico, according to a CDC report.

Following 31 reports of VIM-CRPA infections in the United States during the fall of 2018 to the CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory Network—including 6 linked to medical tourists who received care in Mexico—the agency sent out an alert. CDC investigators subsequently identified 6 more cases through January 2019. Of the 12 VIM-CRPA cases linked to medical care in Mexico, 11 were medical tourists who traveled abroad for bariatric surgery. The remaining patient became ill while abroad and underwent endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. The patients received care at 5 hospitals in Tijuana, Mexico. Inspectors from the Secretariat of Health in Mexico identified numerous infection control breaches at 1 hospital where 8 of the VIM-CRPA infected patients were treated.