A mysterious respiratory illness has reportedly gripped Argentina due to which nine people have died and six are hospitalised. Authorities said the disease is reminiscent of pneumonia, with some drawing parallels to Covid outbreak.

The health ministry has spotted this ailment in northwest Tucumán rural area, wherein people have been infected by the mysterious respiratory illness, including eight medical staff at the same clinic, according to The Times.

According to reports, since Monday, three people have died, while a 70-year-old woman was admitted for a surgical procedure at the clinic.

The province’s health minister, Luis Medina Ruiz, has ruled out Covid, flu and influenza type A and B.

“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,” Ruiz was quoted as saying.

Authorities have sent the samples of the unknown virus to the Malbran Institute in Buenos Aires and Argentina’s National Administration of Health Laboratories and Institutes.

They are also examining the water and air conditioning units in the area to test for possible poisoning.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the European Centre for Disease Control’s epidemic intelligence team said that it has been monitoring the cases, whereas scientists at the World Health Organization have also begun tracking the situation.

Professor Devi Sridhar, chair of global health at Edinburgh University and author of “Preventable: How a Pandemic Changed The World & How to Stop the Next One,” told the Telegraph, “It’s obviously concerning but we still need key information on transmission and hopefully [on the] underlying cause.”

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