In an email to CNN, WHO spokesman Tariq Jasarevic said eight health care workers and another patient had cases with a family in San Miguel de Tucuman. related to private clinics.
“Three of them have died, three are currently hospitalized, and one is in home isolation and is in stable condition,” Jasarevic said, adding that samples from the cases had been analyzed for Covid-19, influenza and Hantavirus, but all tested positive feminine. The sample is undergoing further analysis.
San Miguel de Tucuman is the capital of the agricultural province of Tucuman in northwestern Argentina.
The WHO and the Pan American Health Organization have been following up on the reports and are providing support to Argentine health authorities who are working to investigate the outbreak, Jasarevic said.
“The cause is currently being determined by public health authorities and all [hypotheses] are being explored, including viruses and other pathogens,” Jasarevic wrote. “The Argentine Ministry of Health and provincial health authorities are cooperating to investigate the outbreak. They are also conducting contact tracing and control operations at medical clinics linked to the outbreak. “
Dr Jack Dunning, senior researcher in emerging and high-consequence infections at Oxford University’s Institute for Epidemiological Sciences, said it was important to wait for the results of public health investigations before drawing conclusions about the nature of the disease. In a statement released by the UK’s Science Media Centre.
“The current small cluster of unexplained acute severe respiratory disease cases in Tucuman, Argentina, is reported to be a live event and an investigation is ongoing; understandably there will be interest and speculation about the cause, especially in a pandemic Everyone has been on edge after the event for the past two years, but we do need to wait for the results of ongoing public health and clinical investigations.
“More cases may be detected and reported in the future, as this often occurs in these types of events, but that does not mean that this event is the start of a new pandemic,” he said.
Dunning noted that contact with a specific health center could indicate exposure to an infected patient, but it could also mean exposure to environmental agents or toxins.
“Argentina has extensive experience in investigating and managing outbreaks of severe acute respiratory diseases, especially those caused by infections (eg pandemic H1N1 influenza, COVID-19, Andean Hantavirus infection), so it is hoped that this cluster will Keep it relatively small, while the root cause will be quickly identified,” he said.
Dr Lance Tertle, an infectious disease expert at the University of Liverpool, agreed, saying in a statement: “We should not be very concerned at this stage.”
“Pneumonia is actually rarely diagnosed which specific microorganism is caused by. Not all people with pneumonia have the same clinical features, and those features can vary. If a pneumonia case looks a little different than usual, if there is a death cases, it seems that if that’s the case then you might expect to find a cause. But cases of pneumonia of unknown origin can happen frequently and go unreported, which means it’s hard to know how common things like this really are,” he said.
CNN’s Carma Hassan contributed to this report.