Chinese authorities on Saturday confirmed the first death from a new virus that broke out in central China, local media reported.
One patient with viral pneumonia has been confirmed dead while seven others are in critical condition in Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province, Xinhua News Agency quoted local health authorities as saying.
According to the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, the diagnoses showed 41 cases suffer from pneumonia caused by a preliminarily determined new type of coronavirus.
A total of 739 close contacts, 419 of which are medical staff, have been placed under medical observation and no related cases were found, the commission said.
The first case of viral pneumonia in China was diagnosed last month, but based on the current findings of the commission, there is no evidence for human-to-human transmission of the disease.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said Chinese authorities believe a new coronavirus from the family that produced SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) may be the cause of the mysterious pneumonia cases in the city, the Scientific American magazine reported.
“Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that range from the common cold to SARS. Some cause less-severe disease, some more severe. Some transmit easily from person to person, while others don’t,” the WHO said.
The virus “can cause severe illness in some patients and it does not transmit readily between people,” it added./aa