Argentina.  What we know about the pneumonia of unknown origin that killed three people

Argentina. What we know about the pneumonia of unknown origin that killed three people

After Covid-19 and its variants, then monkeypox, a new infection has just appeared in Argentina. Within a few days, several people were affected by severe pneumonia and were hospitalized with more or less severe symptoms.

Examinations performed on samples taken from the patients revealed nothing in common with existing diseases. The medical profession is wondering, especially since the infection seems to have disappeared as quickly as it appeared.

How many people have been affected?

A total of nine cases have been cataloged, including eight members of the nursing staff from the same private clinic, the provincial Minister of Health, Luis Medina Ruiz, said at a press conference on Thursday, September 1, 2022.

The infection has already killed three people. Two members of the nursing staff died on Monday and then on Wednesday, and a third person died on Thursday, it is a 70-year-old woman, a patient of this same private clinic, where she had undergone surgery.

this patient “He had been operated on for a gallbladder problem and then had reoperation twice”. According to the minister, “The picture of pulmonary infection coincides with the appearance (of symptoms) in others”. This patient could “in principle to be ‘patient zero’, but it is under study”.

After the outbreak of the outbreak, a “intense search for all health personnel” of the clinic was initiated for follow-up purposes.

What type of infection is it?

This is severe pneumonia. “of unknown origin”.

Common symptoms are “A severe respiratory condition with bilateral pneumonia, and an image very similar to that of Covid, but this has been ruled out”reported medical authorities. “Most patients started with vomiting, high fever, diarrhea and body aches, with a more complex course in some”.

Of the six people initially affected, four are hospitalized with more or less severe symptoms, another two are being monitored in home isolation. The three new cases revealed on Thursday, September 1, 2022 are those of a 40-year-old caregiver and nurse, and a 30-year-old nurse with comorbidities.

Where did the first cases appear?

The contagion appeared in northwestern Argentina, in a private clinic in San Miguel de Tucumán, known as Tucumán (1,300 km from Buenos Aires). The cases are very localized, around this same clinic.

The infectologist Mario Raya, deputy director of the Zenón Santillán Health Center, the main public hospital in Tucumán, assured this Thursday that “At the moment, we have no cases outside this establishment”.

“It is an epidemic, in a certain place, with a specific cause and a certain number of people. For now, everything related to this pathology is under investigation.told the local newspaper La Gaceta de Tucumán.

When was the infection revealed?

“So far we have not found anything that allows us to know the cause of the epidemic. Since we don’t know what it consists of, we don’t know evolution well.”said the provincial health minister.

For the first identified cases, symptoms appeared between August 18 and 23.

Since, “No new cases have been identified”even in the close contacts of these patients, which Luis Medina Ruiz described as “positive news”ensuring that the situation is ” under control “.

Is the disease identified?

On the origin of the pathology, the provincial Minister of Health had speculated on Wednesday that it could come from an infectious agent, but that was not ruled out. “toxic or environmental causes”. For this reason, analyzes are also being carried out on the clinic’s water and air conditioning systems.

In addition, in-depth tests are being carried out at the Argentine reference laboratory, the Malbran Institute in Buenos Aires.

Results are expected by the end of the week. But Covid, flu, influenza type A and B and hantavirus (transmitted by rodents) have already been ruled out.

“It would not be a disease that results in person-to-person transmission, since the close contacts of these patients do not present any symptoms”, explained this Wednesday the president of the Medical College of the province of Tucumán, Héctor Sale. As he expresses his ” to worry ” due to obvious pathology “aggressive”.

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