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Officials warn of infections from foreign surgeries

Boston health officials are investigating several reports of severe infections in patients who traveled to the Dominican Republic for cosmetic surgery.

At least two patients in Boston, and another in Worcester, are believed to have been infected with Mycobacterium abscessus, bacteria that are not easily battled with antibiotics .

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The patients were part of a group that went to the Dominican Republic during the summer for cosmetic surgery and started having problems earlier this fall, including abscesses and drainage from their surgery sites, said Dr. Anita Barry, director of the infectious disease bureau at the Boston Public Health Commission.

Other patients in the group who live in Maryland, Connecticut, and New York have also been infected, she said.

The germ can be spread through contaminated medical equipment, medical supplies, or poor surgical techniques. Infection can cause severe pain and swelling, and often does not show up until several weeks after surgery.

The infection is not contagious, but is serious and needs to be treated, Barry said.

Kay Lazar can be reached at Kay.Lazar@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKayLazar.
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