A positive case of Legionella was confirmed yesterday at the “San Martín Hospital” and the Province activated the health alarm for fear of an outbreak like the one that occurred last year in Tucumán, where it caused several deaths.
In the last few hours, a 49-year-old patient from the San Martín Hospital, who is admitted to intensive care, was referred from the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. He arrived with the diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma and had an intervention (autologous bone marrow transplant) scheduled on February 24.
After the positive results, the authorities are now analyzing how the infection occurred, especially since it was reported that the patient had been hospitalized in mid-February in another ward of the same hospital.
According to information provided by the World Health Organization, legionellosis presents important variations in terms of its severity. It ranges from mild conditions that cause fever to some life-threatening forms of pneumonia. The cause of the disease is exposure to Legionella species present in contaminated water and potting soil mixes.
It can be contracted outside the hospital, in a health center or during a trip.
Worldwide, the species transmitted by water is the one that causes the most cases of infection and even epidemic outbreaks. It is usually found in lakes, rivers, streams, hot springs and other water systems.
Other species can be found in potting soil mixes.
The bacterium was first described in 1977, as the cause of a 1976 outbreak of severe pneumonia at a US convention center.
Since then, it has caused outbreaks as a result of poorly maintained artificial water systems.
Although the infective dose is unknown, it can be presumed that it is low for people vulnerable to the bacteria, since cases have been reported after very short exposure times and distances of up to 3 km or more from the source of infection.
The probability of contracting the disease depends on the concentration of legionella in the water source, the production and dispersion of aerosols, factors specific to the person, such as age or conditions, and the virulence of the strain of legionella. in question Most infections do not cause symptoms.
The pathogens that cause legionellosis are legionella present in water or potting soil mixes.
The species that most commonly causes the disease is “L. pneumophila”, which can be found in natural freshwater bodies around the world.
However, artificial aquatic systems are much more dangerous, since they are favorable places for the growth and spread of legionella.
These bacteria live and grow in water at temperatures between 20°C and 50°C (optimum temperature: 35°C) and can survive and proliferate by parasitizing free protozoa or within biofilms that form in water systems. In addition, they can infect human cells through a mechanism similar to that used to infect protozoa.
The most frequent form of transmission of legionella is the inhalation of aerosols with contaminated water. This transmission has been observed in aerosols generated in cooling towers for air conditioning, hot and cold water systems, humidifiers, and hydromassage facilities. The infection can also be contracted by inhalation of contaminated water or ice, especially by vulnerable hospitalized patients, or by exposure of the newborn during water births.
To date, there are no known cases of direct transmission between people.
Between 75% and 80% of reported cases are people over 50 years of age, and between 60% and 70% are men.