Mystery Pneumonia - It Killed Three And Infected Other Six In Argentina
Local health officials in Argentina have reported that three persons have died from mystery pneumonia. Experts have ruled out COVID-19, influenza, and hantavirus as possible causes, but six others have already been affected.
Argentine health officials said on Thursday, September 1, that a third person had died this week that had been contained to a single clinic.
Tucuman Health Minister Luis Medina Ruiz told reporters that nine people in the province had become sick with a respiratory mystery, including eight members of the private clinic's medical staff.
Since Monday, three people have passed away: two members of the healthcare staff and now a clinic patient.
Authorities are performing testing, although Medina said they had already ruled out COVID-19, the flu, influenza types A and B, legionella bacterial illness, and hantavirus carried by rodents.
The Malbran Institute in Buenos Aires has received the samples. The most recent casualty was a 70-year-old lady brought to the hospital for surgery.
The lady may have been "patient zero," but Medina said that possibility is "being examined." Two members of the clinic's medical staff fell prey to the unknown illness on Monday and Wednesday.
Between August 18 and 23, the first six patients began showing symptoms.
On Wednesday, Medina claimed the patients were diagnosed with "a serious respiratory illness with bilateral pneumonia... very similar to COVID" There was vomiting, high fever, diarrhea, and generalized body pains.
Four were in critical condition in the hospital, and two were under strict isolation at home, out of the six patients. The clinic's other employees were under surveillance, too.
Specialists are also examining water and air conditioning systems to see if a hazardous or environmental factor is at play, such as the presence of Legionella bacteria in an air conditioning duct.
Health experts had emphasized that additional information is required "before ringing the alarm bell," even if the instances are reminiscent of the early days of the COVID-19 epidemic when officials scrambled to find the origin of inexplicable pneumonia in Wuhan.
Since Tuesday, the epidemic intelligence team at the European Center for Disease Control has been monitoring the swarm of cases. Another organization aware of the incidents is the World Health Organization.
Prof. Devi Sridhar, chair of global health at Edinburgh University and author of "Preventable," said,
It's alarming, but we still need important information on transmission and hopefully [on the] underlying cause.
This demonstrates how susceptible we all are too harmful infections. If a pandemic isn't stopped quickly, it can spread rapidly worldwide because it's easy for people to travel and trade goods worldwide.
Despite excluding COVID, influenza, and hantavirus as possible causes, more investigation is underway. Experts looked into the possibility that an infectious agent was to blame for the epidemic.
Still, they also kept open the possibility that "toxic or environmental reasons" were to blame.