The mysterious outbreak in Argentina solved: Legionnaires’ disease behind the disease that led to disease 11

A mysterious outbreak that sickened 11 people in Argentina, killing four, has been resolved.

Health authorities said the disease was most likely caused by Legionella bacteria that lead to infection Legionnaires’ disease.

The outbreak was contained in a health clinic in San Miguel de Tucumán, which is the capital of the province of Tucuman and located 670 miles northwest of Buenos Aires.

Health Minister Carla Vizzotti said During a press conference On Sunday, four samples – including blood, respiratory and tissue samples – from deceased patients tested positive for the bacteria.

“The genome of Legionella bacteria has been revealed,” she told reporters. “The suspicion is that it’s Legionella pneumophila.”

Health Minister Carla Vizzotti, second from left, representative of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in Argentina Eva Jean Lopes and Regional Health Minister Luis Medina Ruiz during a press conference in Tucumán, Argentina, September 3, 2022.

Tucumán Department of Health/AFP via Getty Images

However, she said the results are preliminary and more tests are being conducted.

Legionnaires are a form of acute pneumonia caused by inhaling the bacteria in tiny droplets of water or accidentally swallowing water containing Legionella.

This disease is not contagious, but it can spread if bacteria become infected with it In the water supply of the building Including shower heads, sink faucets, hot water tanks, heaters and other plumbing systems.

Although most people recover from Legionnaires’ disease with antibiotics, some patients — including those who are immunocompromised or those with chronic lung disease — can develop complications that can be fatal.

according to World Health OrganizationThe cases appeared between August 18 and August 25 with patients complaining of fever, muscle aches, abdominal pain and difficulty breathing along with symptoms of pneumonia.

Of the 11 cases, eight were among the clinic’s health workers and three were among the patients. Three of the four deaths occurred among health workers.

According to the World Health Organization, the average age of cases was 45, and seven were male. Ten people had underlying conditions that put them at risk of serious illness, including the four deaths.

As of September 3, four people are still in hospital and three are recovering at home.

Argentine health authorities have said they are conducting contract tracing to prevent further spread of the disease. Of the contacts identified so far, no symptoms have appeared.

Image: Severe bilateral pneumonia (legionnaire's disease caused by Legionella pneumophila), seen on an anterior chest X-ray.

Severe bilateral pneumonia (Legion’s disease caused by Legionella pneumophila), seen on anterior chest X-ray.

BSIP / Universal Images Group via Getty Images, FILE

“Sporadic outbreaks of pneumonia have been reported in Argentina before,” the World Health Organization said in a statement. “There are robust monitoring activities being carried out at the affected health facility.”

“However, in the absence of a specific source of Legionella bacteria, the risk of contracting Legionella disease for people working or in hospital at the same health facility currently is moderate,” the statement continued.