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Four Utahns facing drug-resistant infection, HIV after having a surgery in Mexico

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control are investigating infections popping up in Utahns after they had surgery in Mexico.

Rebecca Ward with the health department says four people have been infected with Pseudomonas aeruginosaa bacteria she says is extremely hard to treat conventionally.

“This particular infection we’re concerned with is really resistant to specific types of antibiotics and, therefore, can be very difficult to treat,” Ward says.

In order to treat the bacteria, people have to be hospitalized. Half of these people infected and had the weight loss surgery traveled to Grand View Hospital in Tijuana, Mexico.

Ward says if you’re experiencing swelling or redness at the incision site, you need medical attention as soon as possible.

“In addition to this bacteria, some patients may have been exposed to some bloodborne infections,” says Ward. “We received information that there were gaps in infection control procedures at this particular clinic.”

These bloodborne infections can include Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C or even HIV and come from improper disinfecting of the tools used during surgery.

Ward says people often seek medical treatments and surgeries outside the U.S. because it’s cheaper.

“Our recommendation at this point is that people not travel to Mexico, to this particular clinic, to get particular types of surgery, like weight loss surgery,” Ward says. “It is a rare infection, but it is very significant.

The CDC and the UDOH cannot assure your safety if you seek treatment outside the country. The agencies recommend that if you’ve had these surgeries, specifically at the Grand View Hospital, you get tested for the bloodborne infections.