World Health Organization Monitoring ‘Mystery’ Killer Virus ‘Similar to Covid’ in Argentina

The World Health Organization is monitoring the outbreak of a “mystery” virus in Argentina that is “very similar to Covid”, according to local reports.

Three people have died this week in Argentina due to pneumonia of unknown origin, local health authorities have said. Six others have been infected with the unknown virus as experts rule out Covid-19, influenza, and hantavirus as causative agents.

Luis Medina Ruiz, the minister of public health of the Tucuman province in northwest Argentina, reported the death of a 70-year-old patient and the identification of three employees of the medical facility with symptoms. The Independent reports:

“What these patients have in common is the severe respiratory condition with bilateral pneumonia and compromise in images [x-ray] very similar to Covid, but that is ruled out,” Dr Ruiz said.

Of the nine people found to be infected so far, eight were reportedly health workers, and one of them was an intensive care patient treated at a private clinic in Tucuman.

She was hospitalised and underwent surgery for a gallbladder problem. She was re-operated twice. From then on, an infectious pulmonary disease took place, the date of which coincides with the onset of symptoms in the other patients, around August 20,” Dr Ruiz said.

Although it is not yet clear which came first, at first she was considered patient zero, but she is under study based on the deepening of the analyses that are being carried out,” he added.

Authorities say the symptoms of the mysterious illness were first reported between 18 and 22 August.

“It is very similar to Covid, hantavirus; it can be viruses or bacteria,” director of epidemiology of the provincial health system, Dr Rogelio Calli, said at a press briefing.

So far, tests for Covid, hantavirus, and some strains of legionella have yielded negative results, the ministry said.

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