Nine infected in a private clinic in the province of Tucuman. Already excluded 25 between viruses and bacteria. Health authorities suspect Legionella but investigations are underway
Three people died of pneumonia of unknown origin in the Luz Mdica private clinic in the Argentine province of Tucuman, in the North West of Argentina. Nine people in all, including eight members of the medical staff, were affected by the respiratory disease and three died, the provincial minister of health told the press. Luis Medina Ruiz.
All patients were diagnosed with one bilateral pneumonia. Tests on the origin of the disease are underway, but Covid, influenza, influenza type A and B, or hantaviruses (transmitted by rodents) have already been excluded for a total of 25 different viruses or bacteria. The samples were sent to the Argentine Reference Laboratory, the Malbran Institute in Buenos Aires and other investigations are underway to try to trace the pathogen that caused the infection.
The initial six cases had presented symptoms between 18 and 22 August, the three new cases announced on Thursday 1 September presented symptoms between 20 and 23 August but so far none of the latter cases have undergone assisted ventilation. After the first infections, the hospital was quarantined and no longer took in other patients. The first two victims were health workers of the private clinic: a 45-year-old nurse and a 68-year-old doctor while the third victim was a 70-year-old patient admitted to undergo gallbladder surgery. According to Luis Medina Ruiz, the latest victim could be patient zero but examinations are underway.
Although the condition is compatible with Covid-19 and the flu – that is, it causes shortness of breath, muscle aches and fever – these diseases have been ruled out through a series of tests. Therefore, specialists are looking for another virus or bacterium that can explain a disease so serious that it can lead to death. Two of the 6 initial patients are still in serious condition.
The Minister of Health of Tucuman has estimated that the origin of the pathology could be an infectious agent, but environmental toxic causes have not been excluded. The analyzes on the water and air conditioning systems.
The medical secretary of the provincial health system, Miguel Ferre Contreras stated that the possibility that this disease, as yet unidentified, could spread from person to person is excluded: The clinical situation goes aheadi for more than a week and no secondary cases have appeared , so we can say that we are not dealing with a virus that is transmitted from person to person. In principle, something that it is not circulating in the community.
The suspicion that the culprit may be the bacterium of the
Legionella , but the results of the analyzes are not yet available. There legionellosi, known as Legionnaires’ disease, characterized by generating pneumonia with high fever, and tests are underway on hospital air conditioners and water tanks. The infectious disease community suggests that we need to think about Legionella. a bacterium that is difficult to grow and difficult to identify. the study that we are waiting to see if we are facing that picture or not has admitted Deputy Minister Ferre Contreras. The results of the laboratory analyzes will be available by the weekend.
September 1, 2022 (change September 1, 2022 | 20:22)
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