After Covid-19 and its variants, then monkey pox, 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 serious symptoms.
Examinations carried out on samples taken from the patients revealed nothing in common with existing diseases. The medical profession wonders, especially since the infection seems to have disappeared as quickly as it appeared.
How many people have been affected?
Nine cases in total have been listed, including eight members of the nursing staff of the same private clinic, said at a press conference Thursday, September 1, 2022 the provincial Minister of Health, Luis Medina Ruiz.
The infection has already killed three people. Two members of the nursing staff died on Monday and then Wednesday, and a third person died on Thursday, namely a 70-year-old woman, a patient in this same private clinic, where she had undergone surgery.
This patient “had been operated on for a gallbladder problem and then re-operated twice”. According to the minister, “the picture of lung infection coincides with the appearance (of symptoms) in others”. This patient could “in principle to be the ‘zero patient’, but it is under examination”.
Following the outbreak of the outbreak, a “intense search of 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 imaging very similar to Covid, but this has been ruled out”reported the 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 serious symptoms, two others are monitored in isolation at home. The three new cases revealed on Thursday, September 1, 2022 are those of a 40-year-old caregiver and a nurse, and a 30-year-old nurse with comorbidities.
Where did the first cases appear?
The infection appeared in the northwest of Argentina, in a private clinic in San Miguel de Tucuman, known as Tucuman (1,300 km from Buenos Aires). The cases are very localized, around this same clinic.
Infectiologist Mario Raya, deputy director of the Zenon Santillan Health Center, the main public hospital in Tucuman, assured Thursday that “at the moment, we have no cases outside of this establishment”.
“It’s 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.he told the local daily La Gaceta de Tucuman.
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 cases identified, the symptoms appeared between August 18 and 23.
Since, “No new cases have been identified”including in close contacts of these patients, what Luis Medina Ruiz described as “positive news”ensuring that the situation is ” under control “.
Is the disease identified?
Regarding the origin of the pathology, the provincial Minister of Health had speculated on Wednesday that it could come from an infectious agent, but that were not excluded “toxic or environmental causes”. Therefore, analyzes are also being carried out on the clinic’s water and air conditioning systems.
In addition, in-depth examinations are underway at the Argentine reference laboratory, the Malbran Institute in Buenos Aires.
Results are expected by the end of the week. But already, Covid, flu, type A and B influenza, and hantavirus (transmitted by rodents) have been ruled out.
“It would not be a disease that results in person-to-person transmission, since close contacts of these patients do not show any symptoms”, explained on Wednesday the president of the Medical College of the province of Tucuman, Hector Sale. While expressing his ” worry ” for an obvious pathology ” agressive “.