Mysterious outbreak of bilateral pneumonia in northern Argentina

Updated September 3, 2022: The Argentine Ministry of Health confirmed that the causative agent of the outbreak he is LegionellaAnd the likely to pneumococcus, although the exact classification has not yet been determined. The bacteria could have originated in the plumbing or in air conditioning units. So far, 11 cases of infection and 4 deaths have been confirmed.

Buenos Aires, Argentina – Since August 18, authorities are investigating an outbreak of bilateral pneumonia of unknown origin that has infected at least eight health care workers in a private clinic in the northern city of San Miguel de Tucumán. Of the eight, two – both – died: a 68-year-old doctor and a 45-year-old nurse. A 70-year-old woman who had undergone gallbladder surgery also became ill and died.

“Most of the patients experienced vomiting and high fever, Diarrhea, body aches. In some patients, the course of the disease was more complex. Two of the first six patients remain in serious condition and are currently on ventilators, Luis Medina Ruiz, Tucumán’s public health minister, said during a news conference September 1.

“The infectious disease community is suggesting that we consider Legionnaires’ diseaseMiguel Ferré Contreras, Executive Secretary of the Regional Health System (SIPROSA), noted that although it is difficult to culture and identify the relevant bacterial species, it is expensive.” He continued, saying that “25 separate causes had been ruled out.”

Legionnaires’ disease is one of two forms of Legionnaires’ disease, transmitted by inhalation of water droplets containing Legionella species or through inhalation of water contaminated with these bacteria. There was no confirmation about the transmission path involved in the current outbreak. In 2013, the first outbreak in Argentina identified as having these characteristics was among workers and patients at a hospital in Carmen de Areco, a town two hours west of Buenos Aires. Two women died, both nurses. and cases hospital infection It was recorded in 2019 and 2020. Another hypothesis that has emerged is that it can leptospirosis.

As announced by the Argentine Ministry of Health in a press release issued on August 31, the National Administration of Laboratories and Institutes of Health (ANLIS) has received Dr. Carlos Malbran – the National Reference Center for the Analysis of Infectious Diseases – samples from “the six primary pneumonia cases in Tucumán of unknown origin for the purpose of conducting More diagnostic tests.

In addition, the press release stated that “national and local health authorities are working together to investigate the outbreak, including case follow-up, contact tracing, and implementation of control measures for the facility where the outbreak emerged.”

At a press conference the next day, Ruiz City provided additional details. “Last night and this morning, we got some information from our colleagues at ANLIS Malbrán. So far, all the analyzes that have come in have been negative for us – for COVID-19, hantavirus and some strains of Legionella Negativity comes back to them, too. We are continuing to move forward with a research protocol that includes various tests: blood cultures, sputum cultures, urine culture, and cultures of all the viruses and bacteria we have available in the county.”

“There are hypotheses on the table about etiology, although what we have, specifically, is the common origin and course of the disease,” Medina Ruiz added.

For affected health care workers: There is another physician in addition to a pharmacist assistant, but the majority are nurses; The youngest is 30 years old, suffers from comorbidities. Four of them have been hospitalized, while the others are isolated at home.

“This situation we are in now has led to a feeling of anxiety, a situation that very much brings back memories of what we were experiencing while in quarantine and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” psychologist Lucas Horigott Bos wrote in his book. Editorial article by Tucumán Newspaper Newspaper. “Things are still fresh in our minds – everything surrounding the fear of contagion, all the uncertainty and vulnerability we felt when it came to planning for the future or making up an idea of ​​what that future would look like.”

The international press also reported on the outbreak. For example, in the United Kingdom, there is an article in daily Mail He mentioned “disturbing similarities with how COVID spread in Wuhan in late 2019.” And in his article, The telegraph Quoted by Devi Sridhar, MD, Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Edinburgh, UK. “Obviously it is concerning, but we still need basic information about the transmission and hopefully [on the] It is the reason behind it.”

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This article was translated from Medscape Spanish Edition.

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