Infections: Legionella probably cause of lung disease in Argentina

According to the local Ministry of Health, an outbreak of an initially unidentified lung disease in a private clinic in Argentina can now be traced back to legionella.

Infections: Legionella probably cause of lung disease in Argentina

According to the local Ministry of Health, an outbreak of an initially unidentified lung disease in a private clinic in Argentina can now be traced back to legionella. This was announced by the authority of the province of Tucumán at a press conference with Argentina's Health Minister Carla Vizzotti on Saturday (local time).

Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) was relieved on Twitter about the new findings: "No new pandemic. That would have been missing..."

Legionella can cause diseases in humans ranging from flu-like symptoms to severe pneumonia. The pathogens are often transmitted through atomized water, for example in showers, whirlpools, through humidifiers or through faucets.

The Ministry of Health of the province of Tucumán reported four dead and seven people with severe pneumonia up to and including Saturday.

All those affected were employees or patients at the Luz Médica clinic in San Miguel de Tucumán. Tests at the renowned Malbrán Institute for Covid-19, hantavirus and several Legionella strains were initially negative. "Very good. The outbreak in Argentina has been cleared up," wrote infectiologist Leif Erik Sander from Charité Berlin on Twitter. "It was legionella. But not a pandemic risk."

The authorities in Tucumán had reported the cases to the Pan-American Health Organization (Paho). Accordingly, the first patients complained between August 18 and 22 about fever, body and abdominal pain and shortness of breath. Several of those affected were nurses. According to the Ministry of Health, all patients belonged to the risk group: they were smokers or had a history of respiratory diseases, obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure.

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