There is a new death. Pneumonia of unknown origin that occurred in Tucuman, northwestern Argentina, resulted in its fourth victim. The ministry of health of the province announced it on Saturday. “This is a 48-year-old male patient with comorbidities, who was in a serious condition in a public hospital,” said the ministry of health of Tucuman, Luis Medina Ruiz. This is the fourth dead in less than a week. So far, all cases are linked to a clinic. Previously two health workers and a patient from the clinic died. A 70-year-old woman operated on in the facility is treated as “patient zero”: in medical terms, “patient zero” is the first person to have been infected with a virus or disease in a population during an outbreak.
Although the symptoms appear similar to Covid-19, epidemiological investigations have ruled out that the disease, along with influenza A and B, or hantavirus, is spread by rodents. The total cases at the moment are little more than a handful. The first six patients started experiencing symptoms between 18 and 23 August. Furthermore, toxic or environmental causes have not yet been ruled out. Experts were analyzing the water and air conditioners for possible contamination or poisoning.
Hector Sale, president of the Tucuman provincial medical college, said there is currently no conclusive evidence of person-to-person transmission because there have been no cases among those who have been in close contact with any of the patients. The patients were struck by bilateral pneumonia “very similar to that caused by Covid”, he specified Medina Ruiz. Symptoms included vomiting, high fever, diarrhea, and body aches. Of the six people who received treatment, four are in serious condition in hospital and two in home isolation. All other staff at the clinic are monitored.