Argentina's Pneumonia Outbreak De-Mystified
The Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported a total of eleven cases of pneumonia, including four deaths, with the onset of symptoms between August 18 and 25, 2022.
No secondary cases have been identified of these pneumonia cases linked to the same clinic in San Miguel de Tucumán.
The cluster is limited to eight (8) health care workers and three patients from the private clinic.
Ten of the 11 cases presented underlying or risk conditions, the most frequent being: hypertension, smoking, and diabetes, with a median age of 45 years old.
Of the cases, four remain hospitalized, two are under ambulatory care, and one has been discharged.
Preliminary investigation indicates that the fatal cases had comorbidities.
On September 3, 2022, the National Administration of Laboratories and Health Institutes ANLIS reported that amplification products of the 16S ribosomal gene for Legionella were sequenced from two bronchoalveolar lavages (BAL) samples by massive sequencing and by four bioinformatic analysis methods, with results that were compatible with Legionella pneumophila.
The preliminary results of two BAL samples analyzed by total DNA sequencing show that readings are compatible with Legionella spp.
Legionella, particularly L. pneumophila species, is associated with outbreaks of severe pneumonia.
The U.S. NIH says there are currently 39 species and 60 distinct antigenic types of Legionella.
The most common way of its transmission is the inhalation of contaminated aerosols, produced in conjunction with sprays, jets, or water mists.
Decontamination of identified environmental sources is of primary importance for prevention.
And the NIH says the drug of choice for treatment is erythromycin.
As of September 4, 2022, the U.S. CDC had not issued a Travel Advisory related to this pneumonia outbreak.
However, the CDC says visitors to Argentina should be up-to-date on all routine vaccines such as Chickenpox, Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis, Influenza, Measles, Polio, and Shingles.
Furthermore, yellow fever vaccination is Recommended for most travelers going to Corrientes and Misiones Provinces.
Generally, yellow fever vaccination with YF-Vax or Stamaril is not recommended for visitors going to Formosa Province and designated areas of Chaco, Jujuy, and Salta Provinces.
And is not recommended for all travelers whose itineraries are limited to areas and provinces not listed above.
In Texas, these vaccines are available in certified pharmacies, such as in Austin, TX.
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