Mysterious New Respiratory Illness Kills Three, Others Infected

By Jason Hall

September 2, 2022

Senior woman wearing face mask lying on hospital bed
Photo: Getty Images

A mysterious respiratory illness has killed three people at a private clinic in Argentina, according to the New York Daily News.

The unidentified disease has infected a total of nine patients and had a similar effect on the lungs as COVID-19, however, none of the patients have tested positive for coronavirus or other known respiratory illnesses.

“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,” said Luis Medina Ruiz, Tucumán’s minister of health, via the Buenos Aires Times.

The infected patients include eight medical staff members at the private clinic in San Miguel de Tucumán, with one patient dying on Monday (August 26), a second on Wednesday (August 28) and a third, identified as a 70-year-old woman who could possibly be "patient zero" for the unidentified disease, on Thursday (September 1).

Local health officials are monitoring the illness and working to determine whether it was caused by other systems such as water or air conditioning units, as well as potential poisoning or environmental causes.

The patients, all of whom reportedly experienced pneumonia in both longs, began showing symptoms at the intensive care unit of the private clinic between August 18 and 22, according to the Buenos Aires Times.

The hospital went into isolation and hasn't reported a new case since August 22.

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