Legionnaires’ Outbreak Linked as Cause to Pneumonia Deaths in Argentina

Reuters
By Reuters
September 4Healthshare
Legionnaires’ Outbreak Linked as Cause to Pneumonia Deaths in Argentina
A culture of the Legionella pneumophila bacteria at the UZ Gent hospital in Belgium on May 17, 2019. (Nicholas Maeterlinck/AFP via Getty Images)

Health authorities confirmed on Saturday that an infectious pneumonia outbreak which killed four people in northwest Argentina had died of Legionnaires’ disease.

The cases are linked to a single private clinic in the city of San Miguel de Tucuman, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

Local health officials so far have reported 11 confirmed cases, including four deaths.

Symptoms have included fever, muscle, and abdominal pain and shortness of breath. Several patients had pneumonia in both lungs.

The Legionella bacteria can be transmitted when people inhale contaminated aerosols produced in conjunction with water sprays, jets, or mists, according to PAHO. Infection can also occur by aspiration of contaminated water or ice, particularly in susceptible patients in hospital environments.

Health Minister Carla Vizzotti told a news conference that Legionnaires’ disease has a significant impact on people with risk conditions over 50 years-old. Antibiotic treatment was needed, she said.

Legionnaires’ was discovered and named in 1976 when an outbreak occurred among people who attended a Philadelphia convention of the American Legion, and the number of U.S. cases reported annually increased more than fivefold between 2000 and 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On Friday, the World Health Organization said it is monitoring a cluster of cases of pneumonia from an unknown cause in Argentina.

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