Argentina has announced that a mystery respiratory virus has so far killed three people and left six needing hospital treatment.
According to the Ministry of Health in Tucumán, nine people in the same private clinic unit contracted what health officials describe as ‘mystery pneumonia’.
The authorities further explain that they are concerned about the deadly outbreak as the usual suspects which include Covid-19, influenza and Hantavirus have been ruled out.
The government highlights that five of the six affected, and those who died, are health care workers which suggests that an infectious agent may be involved.
Luis Medina Ruiz, Tucumán’s minister of health said, “what these patients have in common is the severe respiratory condition with bilateral pneumonia and compromise in x-ray images very similar to Covid-19, but that is ruled out.”
He added that the six patients have had a series of tests for “Covid-19, cold, influenza of both types A + and B +, Hantavirus and 25 other germs have been done but no virus has yet been identified.
The patients’ samples have been sent to the Malbran Institute in Buenos Aires for further analysis while the government tracks contacts of the first patients for isolation.
Experts also disclose they are analysing the water and air conditioning units to determine whether the cause is toxic or environmental.
They are for example investigating whether legionella bacteria may have accumulated in the air conditioning duct.
Argentina stated that the first six patients developed symptoms between August 18 and 22 and that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has officially been notified. (Nation.Africa)