The illness that has sickened 11 people and claimed the lives of four in Argentina may have been brought on by Legionella, the bacteria that causes Legionnaires’ disease, media reports say.
On Saturday, the health officials said Legionella bacteria was identified in tests of four samples — three respiratory and a biopsy from one of the people who died, reports NBC News.
“The suspicion is that it is an outbreak of legionella pneumophila,” Carla Vizzotti, the country’s health minister, was quoted as saying in a statement.
Data is still preliminary and pending final diagnosis, Vizzotti added.
The Legionella bacteria can be transmitted when people breathe in small droplets of water or accidentally swallow water containing the bacteria into the lungs, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
As per the report, it can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a serious type of pneumonia.
The 11 patients linked to the Luz Medica clinic include three people who were under observation and receiving treatment; a 64-year-old man with preexisting conditions, or comorbidities, who was hospitalised in serious condition; and an 81-year-old man who was also hospitalised in serious condition.