Friday, 17 January 2020 09:57

SARS-Like Virus Claims Second Life in China as Pneumonia Outbreak Widens

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A man leaves the Wuhan Medical Treatment Centre in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province, China on Jan. 12 A man leaves the Wuhan Medical Treatment Centre in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province, China on Jan. 12 AFP

A second person died in central China after being infected with the new SARS-like virus that’s caused dozens of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, and emerged in Japan and Thailand this week.

The patient, a 69-year-old man, died Wednesday at the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital in Hubei province after a two-week illness that progressed to multi organ failure, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said late Thursday. The city has reported 41 cases of pneumonia caused by the so-called 2019-nCoV virus. Twelve patients have been cured and discharged, five are being treated for severe illness, and two have died.

Authorities in Japan reported a case Thursday in a resident of Kanagawa prefecture aged in his 30s, who had spent time with an infected person in Wuhan. That’s the second time someone outside China was found to be infected with the novel coronavirus, which has captured international attention because of similarities with the one that sparked Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, 17 years ago.

Unlike SARS, which killed almost 800 people, the new virus doesn’t appear to spread easily between people. Much remains to be understood about the new coronavirus, which was first identified in China earlier this month, the World Health Organization said in a statement Thursday in response to the case in Japan.

“Not enough is known about 2019-nCoV to draw definitive conclusions about how it is transmitted, clinical features of disease, or the extent to which it has spread,” the Geneva-based agency said. “The source also remains unknown.” (Bloomberg)

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