WHO monitoring mysterious pneumonia in Argentina tied to 9 cases, 3 deaths

The World Health organization is monitoring a "pneumonia of unknown origin" after health officials in Argentina notified the agency that nine people have fallen ill, including three who have died. 

The cases are all connected to a private clinic in the Tucumán province of Argentina, according to a Sept. 1 report from the Pan American Health Organization, part of the WHO. Eight healthcare workers at the clinic and one patient have developed the disease, which local health officials described as being similar to COVID-19. However, health officials have ruled out COVID-19, flu and other respiratory viruses. Four patients are hospitalized and the PAHO's report said preliminary investigation "indicate that the fatal cases had comorbidities." 

"What these patients have in common is the severe respiratory condition with bilateral pneumonia and compromise in [x-ray] images very similar to COVID, but that is ruled out," Dr. Luis Medina Ruiz, Tucumán's minister of health, told local media outlets Aug. 31, according to The Telegraph.

Health officials in Tucumán said they are continuing to investigate infectious agents, though have not ruled out environmental causes at the facility. So far, no pathogens in the facility's water have been found, and results of chemical tests are pending. 

The affected individuals experienced symptom onset between Aug. 18 and Aug. 22 and as of Sept. 1, no contacts of the first patients have developed symptoms. 

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