A Texas woman has died after contracting fungal meningitis in an outbreak that has been linked to a cosmetic procedure performed in Mexico.
Lauren Brooke Robinson, 29, died on Wednesday from a fungal meningitis infection after receiving cosmetic surgery in Mexico, the local TV news station KBMT reported.
“The loss of Lauren Brooke Robinson leaves a void in the hearts of those who knew and loved her,” read an obituary for the mother of two children, who lived in Vidor, Texas.
According to her husband, Robinson traveled to Matamoros, in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, in February to undergo an unspecified procedure.
Months after the surgery, Robinson started to feel unwell.
“She was great, the results were great, everything was good, she started going back to work, then she started constantly telling me, ‘I have a headache – something is not right,’” Garrett Robinson said in a 25 May interview with KBMT.
Robinson visited multiple hospitals before finally being diagnosed with fungal meningitis, which is rare but potentially deadly. She reportedly suffered three mini-strokes in the final weeks of her life.
State and federal officials have warned people to cancel procedures in Matamoros after at least 17 people who received procedures in the city near Mexico’s border with the US returned with suspected cases of fungal meningitis, according to a statement from the Texas department of state health services.
Robinson is reportedly one of at least two Americans in that group of people infected with fungal meningitis who have died.
At least 149 people who had surgery in Matamoros in 2023 are being observed for possible cases of fungal meningitis but have no symptoms.
The latest warnings on traveling to Matamoros for cosmetic surgery come after two Americans were killed and two others kidnapped while one of them tried to get a cosmetic procedure there.
In March, Latavia “Tay” Washington McGee and a group of friends traveled from South Carolina to Matamoros so that she could undergo what is known as a tummy tuck surgery.
While there, local drug cartel members kidnapped McGee and Eric Williams. They also killed Washington’s cousin Shaeed Woodard and her friend Zindell Brown.
The five men who allegedly carried out the attack were later dumped on a Matamoros street to be arrested, along with a letter of apology allegedly from the Gulf cartel.
“We ask the public to be calm,” read the letter in Spanish. “We are committed that the mistakes caused by indiscipline won’t be repeated, and that those responsible pay, no matter who they are.”
Cases such as the ones involving Robinson, Washington and Washington’s companions are examples of US medical tourism, in which American travel abroad for healthcare they typically cannot afford at home despite a number of risks, according to experts.