HUS cases decline in Argentina but still pose a deadly problem

Estimated read time 2 min read

Argentina recorded almost 50 hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) cases in the first six weeks of 2024.

HUS is a severe complication associated with E. coli infections that causes kidney failure. 

The 49 cases up to mid-February are lower than the average in the same period from 2019 to 2023. In 2023, 81 cases were reported and in 2022 it was 73, according to figures published in the National Epidemiological Bulletin.

However, five deaths have been reported, which is up on the two deaths in 2023 and three in 2022. Three deaths were in children under five years of age, and the other two were in those over five years old.

The majority of those affected are children younger than 5. In 2024, 34 of the 49 cases are in this age group. In 2023, 69 cases were in this age group; in 2022, it was 52.

At least 43 of 49 cases required hospitalization, and 15 needed intensive care treatment.

The province of Buenos Aires has 15 cases so far this year, while Córdoba has nine. Officials in Córdoba said three youngsters had died. Patients are children under seven years old and all required hospitalization. Six are males, and three are females.

Data from past years
Every year on August 19, Argentina has a national day to raise awareness about HUS and how to prevent the disease.

From January to mid-June 2023, 159 cases were recorded, and 126 were children under 5. At least 122 people required hospitalization and 57 needed intensive care treatment with three deaths recorded.

Three hundred four cases were reported in 2022, up from 276 in 2021, but lower than most years in the past decade.

Authorities listed prevention strategies for the meat, dairy, and fruit and vegetable supply chains, such as good agricultural practices, standard operating procedures, and promoting the use of pasteurized milk.

Advice to the community included promoting safe practices among people who handle food, washing hands with soap and water, avoiding raw milk products and unpasteurized juice, thoroughly cooking meat, and using safe water.

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