In a follow-up on the infections caused by an antibiotic-resistant form of Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria linked to surgeries performed in Tijuana, Mexico, UN officials report there has been 20 cases (80 percent confirmed) identified in nine states in the US.


A confirmed case is defined as Verona integron-encoded metallo-beta-lactamase–producing carbapenem-resistant P. aeruginosa (VIM-CRPA) isolated from a patient who had an invasive procedure in Mexico in the month prior to collection of the VIM-CRPA positive specimen, according to the CDC case definition.

All cases were in travelers who received medical care from healthcare facilities in Tijuana, Mexico. Fifteen of the total cases reported having surgery, primarily for weight loss, at Grand View Hospital. Half of the total cases reported the use of the same medical tourism travel agency based in the United States to coordinate their surgical procedure in Mexico.

A total of 13 cases have been hospitalized in the United States for complications associated with VIM-CRPA infection following invasive procedures in Mexico; most presented with a surgical site infection. One patient with a bloodstream infection and several underlying comorbidities died.

Canadian health officials issued a public health notice last month for Canadian travellers who may have been exposed after having undergone surgical procedures in Tijuana, Mexico

Health officials note there is a risk of spreading resistant P. aeruginosa by patients returning to their home countries, particularly in healthcare settings.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a type of bacteria found widely in the environment and can cause infections in humans. Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria are difficult to treat because they are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. In hospitals, where the most serious infections occur, Pseudomonas aeruginosa can be spread on the hands of health care workers or by equipment that becomes contaminated and is not properly cleaned.