Health officials say that the cases seem to be linked to a hospital in San Miguel de Tucumán. It can cause pneumonia, fever, and pain in the stomach.
On Saturday, health officials said that a disease that has sickened 11 people in Argentina and killed four of them may have been caused by Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease.
Officials were trying to figure out what made 11 people sick who had been to a private clinic in the city of San Miguel de Tucumán, which is about 670 miles north of Buenos Aires.
On Saturday, health officials said that tests of four samples, including three from people’s lungs and a biopsy from one of the people who died, found Legionella bacteria.
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The country’s health minister, Dr Carla Vizzotti, said in a statement that they think it is an outbreak of legionella pneumophila.
Data is still preliminary and pending final diagnosis, Vizzotti added.
Health Officials Say They Think Legionella Caused an Illness That Killed 4 People and Sickened 7
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Legionella bacteria can spread when people breathe in small droplets of water or accidentally swallow water with the bacteria and breathe it into their lungs. It can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a kind of pneumonia that is very dangerous.
The health ministry for Tucumán Province said in news releases that 11 people were linked to the Luz Médica clinic. Three of them were being watched and treated, a 64-year-old man with preexisting conditions was hospitalised in serious condition, and an 81-year-old man was also hospitalised in serious condition.
At a news conference this week, the provincial health minister, Luis Medina Ruiz, said that three people who worked at the clinic also got sick: a 40-year-old pharmacy assistant who was hospitalised, a 44-year-old nurse who is being watched at home, and a 30-year-old nurse.
On Saturday, the health ministry for the province of Tucumán said that a fourth death has been linked to the cluster. The ministry said in a statement that the man who died was 48 years old and had been in critical condition at a hospital.
One of the people who died was a 70-year-old woman who had surgery at the clinic to remove her gallbladder. At first, she was thought to be “patient zero” for the cluster, but Ruiz said that her case will be looked at more closely.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that Legionella bacteria can spread when people breathe in small droplets of water or accidentally swallow water with the bacteria in it. This water can then get into the lungs. It can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a kind of pneumonia that is very dangerous.
Six people who worked at the facility had symptoms that first showed up between August 18 and August 23, provincial health officials said. Three new patients were named on Thursday, one was named on Friday, and one was named on Saturday.
The Pan American Health Organization, which is the WHO’s agency for the Americas, said that Argentina’s Ministry of Health told them about the first group of six patients on Tuesday.
PAHO said Thursday that the symptoms of the then-mysterious illness were fever, muscle aches, abdominal pain, and trouble breathing. Bilateral pneumonia, which is an infection in both lungs, was also a sign.
In the first six cases, tests for respiratory viruses and other viruses, bacteria, and fungi came back negative, PAHO said in a statement Thursday.
At a news conference this week with Ruiz and other medical professionals, it was said that early testing also seemed to rule out Covid-19, Legionella, and hantavirus, which can be spread by rodents.
At a national laboratory run by the Argentinian government, more tests were being done, including ones to look for non-infectious, possibly drug-related, or toxicity-related causes.
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