Arkansas health officials issue 'medical tourism' warning after 2 sickened in Mexico

Arkansas health officials were raising alarms Tuesday after two people returned from a Mexico hospital with infections caused by bacteria that is difficult to get rid of and can be fatal.

The state Department of Health said two Arkansans traveled for medical procedures at the Grand View Hospital in Tijuana, a hospital that has since closed after Mexican and American officials found poor infection control practices, including unsafe practices sterilizing surgery equipment.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that at least a dozen Americans returned from the hospital with infections since August.

Arkansas health officials said people who have traveled to the hospital should have a health screening. Those with symptoms associated with infections – such as fever, redness or swelling at the surgical incision site – should seek immediate medical attention, the agency said.

Drug-resistant bacteria is difficult to treat because it doesn’t respond to most antibiotics, which can be fatal if left unchecked, according to the CDC.

The CDC notes that thousands of Americans travel abroad for medical care, citing that procedures can be cheaper but also carry certain risks.