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In a follow-up of the pneumonia epidemic in Tucumán, Argentina, the Minister of Health of the Nation, Carla Vizzotti and the representative in Argentina of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Eva Jané Llopis, of the province’s health portfolio, confirmed this Saturday that samples taken from patients with bilateral pneumonia were positive for the bacterium Legionella.

Legionella bacteria
Picture/CDC

Vizzotti explained during a press conference that, so far, they have preliminary information and that there is still progress to be made in the final diagnosis, which is with serological pairs, but “in four samples (three respiratory and a puncture biopsy of one of the deceased) he is being isolated in the PCR a bacterium called legionella and his surname is typed and will be there today, ”he said , adding: “The suspicion is that this is an outbreak of Legionella pneumophila.

The Minister of Health pointed out that it is a bacterium that is transmitted by inhalation through water or air conditioning. It has an antibiotic treatment and a great impact on people at risk, over the age of 50, smokers, diabetics and people who are immunocompromised or suffering from respiratory diseases.

All the actions are being generated and the recommendation that we agree with the provincial team is that, having the diagnosis and that it is safe to transfer these patients to another hospital to follow their evolution, to be able to generate an exhaustive study of the health center and thus carry out the actions in the building both in the water and in the air conditioning system so that it is completely safe to return to work in such a health center, “said Vizzotti .

For his part, the Minister of Public Health, Dr. Luis Medina Ruiz highlighted the joint work with the Nation and contextualized by stating that since last Saturday when they became aware of two patients with bilateral pneumonia who were not of known etiology from the 30 studies that can be developed in Tucumán and that came from the same place of work, “this caught our attention and we set to work actively looking for patients with the same conditions and we found six of them”.

“So on Monday we checked that it was not Covid-19 or flu or hantavirus, and on Tuesday we made the decision to publicize this new epidemic situation and we made a plan. contingency with the Nation to assess the etiology,” he explained.

In this sense, he continued: “We have developed a patient control strategy, we have decided on the sanitary isolation of the private sanatorium and we have sent samples to the National Institute of Microbiology Dr. Malbrán and to the Institute National Human Viral Diseases “Dr. Julio I. Maiztegui”.

Finally, the representative of the Pan American Health Organization, Dr. Eva Jane Llopis , appreciated the speed and efficiency with which these files were handled both in the province and in the Nation. “This demonstrates an optimal way to identify and respond to the problem, in addition to notifying the world in a timely manner, through the mechanism of international health regulations. There you can see the commitment of Tucumán and Argentina to global public health and I think that is very important,” she stressed.