UK on high alert over ‘mystery pneumonia strain’ that killed two in Argentina

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The UK government's top scientists are on high alert after a “pneumonia of unknown origin” was discovered in Argentina and has already killed two people.

The unknown virus also infected another three people, who were already in a hospital in Northwest region of Argentina called Tucuman when the two people died, and three others have since contracted the virus, taking the total to six people currently hospitalised.

READ MORE: Mystery pneumonia kills two and infects six as officials left baffled by outbreak

Shockingly, the two people who died, plus five of those in hospital with it, are actually all health care workers.

The first cases were reported on August 18, but scientists have already ruled out it being related to Covid, influenza and hantavirus – the exact symptoms are, as yet, unknown to the public.

And it is now being monitored by the UK.

Speaking exclusively to the Daily Star, Dr Katherine Russell, Head of Emerging Infections and Zoonoses at UKHSA, said: “We are aware of an outbreak of pneumonia of unknown origin in Argentina.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely as further information becomes available through the investigations by Argentina’s health authorities.”

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The epidemic intelligence team at the European Centre for Disease Control has admitted to tracking the cases since Tuesday (August 30), and the World Health Organisation is also keeping an eye on it.

However, having been investigated by officials in Argentina, they are already baffled by it.

Luis Medina Ruiz, Tucumán’s Minister of Health said: “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, as has cold, influenza of both types A + and B +, Hantavirus and 25 other germs.

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“We have that technology in Tucumen, which examines 25 germs between viruses and bacteria, he also tested negative. (Having isolated the patients) we are prioritizing the health of the community. We do not wan that a issue may arise and it can spread and lose control.

“These are scientific and epidemiological backed measures. This shows our vulnerability to pathogens.”

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