Legionella bacteria were identified as the cause of an outbreak of bilateral pneumonia in Argentinawhich so far has caused five deaths and among eleven people infected in a clinic in Tucumán, reported the Minister of Health, Carla Vizzotti.
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“The etiological agent causing the outbreak of bilateral pneumonia is legionella,” Vizzotti told a news conference. “The last name of the bacteria is being typified, although it is possible that it is (legionella) pneumophila,” he said. The bacterium known as legionella causes Legionnaires’ disease, a very serious type of atypical pneumonia with fever and acute lung infection.
The bacteria is found in freshwater environments, such as lakes and streams, and can be spread through water pipes or air conditioning ducts. The outbreak occurred in a private clinic in Tucumán (1,300 km north of Buenos Aires), especially among health personnel, with patients who presented the first symptoms as of August 18.
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“From now on, patients are being referred and actions are being taken in the sanatorium to identify if (the bacteria) is in the water,” said the minister. The health authorities evaluate the measures to be taken “to improve this situation and that the health center can be used again for hospitalization of people, without any risk,” added Vizzotti.
The covid, the flu, the influenza and the hantavirus had been ruled out as a cause from the first moments in which the contagion was known.
Deaths from pneumonia caused by the legionella bacteria rose to five on Sunday in the Argentine city of Tucumán, where 11 people were infected in a private sanatorium, reported the Ministry of Health of the homonymous province.
“This is a 64-year-old man, with comorbidities, who was hospitalized in serious condition, in the public sector,” the portfolio said in a statement. The infectious disease laboratory of the state Malbrán Institute identified Legionella as “the etiological agent causing the outbreak of bilateral pneumonia.”
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Three of the remaining patients remain hospitalized and the other three are “under home monitoring,” according to Luis Medina Cruz, Minister of Health of the province located about 1,300 km north of Buenos Aires. “The last name of the bacteria is being typified, although it is possible that it is (legionella) pneumophila,” Vizzotti said. Of the 11 infected by the outbreak that appeared on August 18, eight were health personnel from the sanatorium.
Legionella causes Legionnaires’ disease, a very serious type of atypical pneumonia with fever and acute lung infection. The bacterium is transmitted by inhalation through water or air conditioning.
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