Argentine health authorities confirmed the death of three people with bilateral pneumonia (on both sides of the lung), of unknown origin. So far, nine such infections have been identified.
All cases are related to a private clinic in the city of San Miguel de Tucumán, are health professionals and at least one patient, and were registered between the 18th and 22nd of August.
The first death is a 68-year-old doctor and the second a 45-year-old nurse.
The third death, reported this Thursday, 1st, is of a 70-year-old patient who was hospitalized for another health problem.
Tucuman Regional Health Minister Luis Medina Ruiz reported that 3 other people from the same clinic started experiencing symptoms around August 23. “One of them is 40 years old and is hospitalized. He is a pharmacy officer and has a fever and bilateral pneumonia. Another person is a 44-year-old nurse who is at home. There is a 30-year-old nurse with comorbidities. This patient was hospitalized today,” he said.
Most patients started with vomiting, high fever, diarrhea and body aches. Some progressed to a serious condition and are on respiratory assistance.
Covid ruled out
Ruiz also said that covid, flu and influenza were ruled out as causes of pneumonia. “We are studying the origin of the outbreak and the epidemiological link. We are still in the investigation process,” he said.
The minister admitted some perplexity, since so far nothing has been found that allows us to know what was the cause of the outbreak. “Because it is a disease that we don’t know what it consists of, we don’t know its evolution well”, he pointed out.
Specialists in infectology and pulmonology suspect the presence of the Legionella bacteria, but insist that the results of the studies that are in progress must be awaited.
According to the provincial Ministry of Public Health, it is also being investigated whether the cause of the outbreak may be linked to the clinic’s air conditioning and water pipes.