SHANGHAI: A 61-year-old man has died from pneumonia in the central Chinese city of Wuhan after an outbreak of a yet to be identified virus while seven others are in critical condition, the Wuhan health authorities said yesterday.
In total, 41 people have been diagnosed with the pathogen, which preliminary lab tests cited by Chinese state media earlier this week pointed to a new type of coronavirus, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a statement on its website.
Two of them have been discharged from hospital and the rest are in stable condition, while 739 people deemed to have been in close contact with the patients have been cleared, it said.
The man, the first victim of the outbreak that began in December, was a regular buyer at a seafood market in the city, who had been previously diagnosed with abdominal tumours and chronic liver disease, the health authority said.
Treatments did not improve his symptoms after he was admitted to hospital and he died on the evening of January 9 when his heart failed. He tested positive for the virus, it added.
The commission added that no new cases had been detected since January 3.
The Wuhan health authority also said that the patients were mainly vendors and purchasers at the seafood market, and that
to date no medical staff had been infected, nor had clear evidence of human-to-human transmission been found.
The World Health Organisation said on Thursday that a newly emerging member of the family of viruses that caused the deadly Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreaks, could be the cause of the present outbreak.