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Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Bacterial Infections in Patients Who Had Surgery in Mexico

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state health departments are investigating an outbreak of multidrug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in patients who had surgery at Grand View Hospital in Tijuana, Mexico. As part of this investigation, Mexican health officials identified poor infection control practices at the hospital, including failure to follow recommended practices for assuring the quality of sterilization of medical devices and instruments. These actions put patients at risk for infections.

CDC recommends that patients who had surgery at Grand View Hospital and are experiencing signs of an infection—such as redness, pus or swelling at the surgical incision site or fever—seek medical care immediately. Serious complications can result without prompt treatment. To guide effective treatment, patients should tell their healthcare providers about their travel and all medical care or surgeries they had out of the country.

As a precaution, CDC also recommends that patients who had surgery at Grand View Hospital on or after August 1, 2018, talk to their healthcare provider about getting tested for the bloodborne pathogens hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), even though the risk for developing one of these infections is low.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of bacterial infections have been reported?

Highly resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections have been reported. Most infections have been at the surgical incision site.

Why are you recommending people consider getting tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV?

Hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV are diseases that can be transmitted by blood or other bodily fluids. Mexican health officials identified concerns about medical device and instrument reprocessing, including that the facility did not follow recommended procedures for assuring the quality of sterilization processes. This practice could lead to diseases being spread to patients, although the risk is low. As a precaution, we are recommending that patients consider getting tested.

What should patients who had surgery at Grand View Hospital tell their healthcare providers?

Patients who have had surgery at Grand View Hospital on or after August 1, 2018, should share the information on this webpage with their healthcare provider to decide about testing for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV. To ensure appropriate diagnosis and treatment, these patients should also tell their providers about any health care they’ve received abroad.

Do patients who had surgery before August 1, 2018, need to get tested?

The earliest surgery associated with this outbreak was in September 2018. It is unknown if the current infection control concerns resulting in the recommendation to consider bloodborne pathogen testing were present before August 1. Individuals who had surgery at Grand View Hospital before August 2018 and who are concerned about bacterial or bloodborne pathogen infection should talk to their healthcare providers. Decisions on testing should be made on a case-by-case basis.

What should patients who had surgery at other hospitals in Mexico tell their healthcare providers?

At this time, the recommendation for bloodborne pathogen testing is specific to patients who had surgery at Grand View Hospital on or after August 1, 2018.

To ensure appropriate diagnosis and treatment, patients should always tell their providers about recent international travel and any health care received abroad. Patients who think they have an infection or other complication should seek medical care immediately.

How can patients check to see if a clinic in another country is safe?

CDC’s Traveler’s Health website has sections on medical tourism and getting health care abroad.

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