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Two Dead After Possible Outbreak Of Fungal Meningitis In Texas

Anyone who has been exposed should get tested at their nearest health center, urgent care, or emergency room.

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

James is a published author with four pop-history and science books to his name. He specializes in history, strange science, and anything out of the ordinary.

Senior Staff Writer

A woman with a stiff neck.

A stiff neck can be a symptom of meningitis.

Image credit: Kleber Cordeiro/

Two residents of Texas have died following a possible outbreak of fungal meningitis, the state's Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has said in an update.

According to the department, the state is investigating 155 people with possible links to the source of the outbreak, with eight patients considered to have probable meningitis, and another nine suspected to have it pending test results. Two patients have died during the outbreak, which has been linked to two surgical clinics in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico. 


The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging anyone who has had surgical procedures under epidural anesthesia at River Side Surgical Center and Clinica K-3 to get tested – via an MRI and lumbar puncture – at their nearest health center, urgent care, or emergency room.

Meningitis is inflammation of the protective membranes around the brain and spinal cord, usually the result of a viral or bacterial infection. Much rarer is fungal meningitis, when the swelling is the result of a fungal infection. 

Usually, this form of meningitis is found in immunocompromized patients, such as those with HIV or undergoing treatment that weakens the immune system, according to charity Meningitis Now

Several types of fungus have been known to cause fungal meningitis, including Histoplasma, Blastomyces, and Coccidioides, all of which can be found in US soil. So far, no fungus has been isolated in patients who received surgery at the centers.


Fungal meningitis is not considered contagious. Where outbreaks do occur, it is sometimes the result of infections acquired during surgery. 

The Mexican Ministry of Health provided a list of 221 US patients who could be at risk of infection, as they received surgery at the clinics between January 1 and May 13, 2023. Anyone who did receive surgery at the clinic between those dates is advised to get assessed for meningitis as soon as possible, even if they do not currently have symptoms.

"Inform the staff and your healthcare provider that CDC recommends you undergo a lumbar puncture (LP) and a MRI, even if you do not have fungal meningitis symptoms," the CDC wrote, adding "consider printing and sharing this web page to help make sure staff and healthcare providers are aware of the situation."

Fungal meningitis, though sometimes life-threatening, is treatable with high-dose antifungal medications. Symptoms of meningitis include fevers, headaches, nausea, a rash that doesn't fade when a glass is pressed to it, a stiff neck, seizures, and a dislike of bright lights.


The content of this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.  


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