HOUSTON — In the last month, three people in Texas have died from fungal meningitis, bringing the death toll in the state to 11.
A Houston mother who lost her daughter to the infection is hoping to send a warning to people thinking about getting surgeries outside the United States.
"She was my baby ... she was my baby,” Nora Whitehead said about her daughter, 31-year-old Shyanne Medrano.
She said Shyanne was in an abusive relationship.
"She thought that she was overweight and she thought she wasn't beautiful anymore," the heartbroken mother said.
Shyanne wanted to change her image through plastic surgery. She chose to get it done at a clinic in Mexico.
"She went to Matamoros, Mexico. She went for surgery for liposuction and BBL (Brazilian butt lift),” Nora said.
Shyanne’s surgery was in March at Clinica K3. A friend drove her to Matamoros. She didn't tell her family.
"For $3,000 my daughter paid with her life," Nora said.
Her death from fungal meningitis is linked to an outbreak at two clinics in the Mexican border city near Brownsville. The CDC put out a warning late this summer saying anyone who received epidural anesthesia at the facilities is at risk.
"When a fungus is causing that inflammation of the brain, we call it fungal meningitis,” Dr. Adarsh Bhimraj, with Houston Methodist, said.
The fungus isn't easy to detect and it needs to be caught early. Treatment takes place over a long period of time.
"Extremely hard to treat," Bhimraj said.
Shyanne's symptoms appeared quickly. She developed headaches and sensitivity to light. Her mother said she deteriorated fast.
"She went into cardiac arrest on Tuesday and she wound up on life support from there on out and never came back out from it," Nora said.
Two months later, Shyanne was gone.
"My daughter suffered," Nora said.
Shyanne left behind friends and family, including her 8-year-old daughter.
"She thought her mom was going to heaven and would come back," Nora said.
Nora is left with ache and anguish. She hopes by sharing her story, she can help prevent other women from going to a clinic across the border.
"Your life is really at risk. Please don't do it. It’s not worth it," Nora said.
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, there are eight confirmed cases of fungal meningitis, a majority of which are in the South Texas area.
Experts recommend that if you went to one of the clinics in Matamoros, you should get tested even if you don’t have symptoms. Doctors said the symptoms can sometimes present themselves up to nine months later. For more information on fungal meningitis and some of the symptoms to look out for, click here. So far this year, they said 12 people in the US have died from it and 11 were from Texas.
The average cost for Liposuction in the US is about $3,637 not including anesthesia, operating room facilities and other related expenses. The average cost of a Brazilian butt lift is $5,482. Surgeon fees can vary based on geographic location, expertise and several other factors. Those numbers are courtesy of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.