The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the women developed soft tissue infections known as mycobacterium abscesses after traveling to Santo Domingo for procedures between May 2003 and February 2004.
All have since recovered after being given antibiotics. Nine of them had to be hospitalized.
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The CDC said that it has yet to establish the source of the infection but that previous outbreaks in other places have been attributed to contaminated surgical equipment.
The women were from New York, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Massachusetts and Puerto Rico and ranged in age from 19 to 59.
The symptoms included fever, chills, pain at the site of the surgery, and a lump under the skin.
The women underwent such procedures as breast enlargement or reduction surgery, tummy tucks and liposuction.
All of the women had come from the Dominican Republic or had some other connection to the country.
Officials from those states and the CDC were investigating. The Dominican Republic Ministry of Health is investigating several surgical centers, the CDC said.
The CDC is urging doctors who find similar cases to contact health officials.