A cluster of pneumonia cases has been reported in the city of San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina’s fifth-largest city.
Three people have died, and several others have become sick after developing pneumonia with no apparent cause.
The cases were first reported at a private clinic in San Miguel de Tucumán. Argentina health officials have expressed concerns after tests for 30 infections, including COVID, flu, and influenza types A and B, came back negative.
“What these patients have in common is the severe respiratory condition with bilateral pneumonia and compromise in [Z-ray] images very similar to COVID, but that is ruled out,” Tucumán health minister Luis Medina Ruiz has said in a statement.
According to him, a 70-year-old suspected to be “patient zero” had been admitted for a surgical procedure. Instead, the person developed a lung infection around Aug. 20. The onset of the patient’s symptoms coincided with those of the healthcare workers who also fell ill.
“We do not leave any hypotheses closed, we have more than thirty possible germs with the ability to detect them, and they are giving negative results, but we must also take into account that many times there may be a previous intake of antibiotics that can hide the etiology,” he said.
According to health experts, the concentration of cases among healthcare workers could indicate the human-to-human spread of a pathogen.
It’s especially concerning that cases include healthcare workers and multiple pathogens have already been ruled out. One to watch. https://t.co/opVbSmHL3C
— Caitlin Rivers, PhD (@cmyeaton) September 1, 2022
According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which works as the regional office for the World Health Organization in the Americas, symptoms have included fever, muscle aches, abdominal pain, and shortness of breath.
Six patients were identified on Aug. 30 with the symptoms, all of whom had contact with one another at the clinic. That group consisted of five healthcare workers and one patient hospitalized at the clinic’s intensive care unit. On Thursday, another three health workers were found to have the illness.
Speaking with Benzinga, Christian Lindmeier, spokesperson for the World Health Organization, said that the case samples have been analyzed for COVID-19, influenza, and hantavirus, and all tested negative. Samples have been sent to the “Dr. Carlos Malbrán” National Administration of Laboratories and Health Institutes (ANLIS) for further analysis. Laboratory investigations and studies are ongoing.
“The cause of the disease is under investigation by public health authorities, and all hypotheses are being explored, including viral and other agents. PAHO-WHO is following up on these reports and providing support to Argentinian health authorities,” he added.
He also said that the Argentina Ministry of Health and the provincial health authorities are working together to investigate the outbreak.
Image and article originally from www.benzinga.com. Read the original article here.