In an update on the cluster of pneumonia cases detected in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, we got additional information today from Chinese and Hong Kong authorities.

Image/Robert Herriman

The Wuhan Municipal Health and Health Commission reported the following (computer translated):

After the pathogen of “unknown cause of viral pneumonia” was initially determined to be a new type of coronavirus, the national, provincial and municipal expert groups immediately revised and improved plans for diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring of unexplained viral pneumonia. The Wuhan Municipal Health and Health Committee has organized tests on existing patient specimens. As of 14:00 on January 10, 2020, pathogenic nucleic acid testing has been completed. The national, provincial and municipal expert groups comprehensively judged the clinical manifestations, epidemiological history, and laboratory test results of patients admitted to the hospital for treatment, and 41 cases of pneumonia with a new coronavirus infection were initially diagnosed, of which 2 were discharged, Seven cases were severe and one died. The remaining patients were in stable condition. All 739 close contacts, including 419 medical staff, have undergone medical observation and no related cases have been found.

No new cases have been detected since January 3, 2020. At present, no medical staff infections have been found, and no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission has been found. 

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Concerning the fatality, officials report:

The patient was a 61-year-old male. He was admitted to the hospital due to respiratory failure and severe pneumonia. He also had abdominal tumors and chronic liver disease. The patient purchases goods from Wuhan South China Seafood Market all year round. After admission to the hospital, symptomatic support, anti-infection, ventilator-assisted breathing, continuous ECMO in vitro life support, and other treatments did not improve his symptoms. On the evening of January 9, 2020, his heartbeat stopped and he died after rescue. Etiological results suggest that the new coronavirus is positive for nucleic acid. The deaths were diagnosed as severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (severe), septic shock, multiple organ failure, severe acid-base metabolism disorders, and cirrhosis. The immediate cause of death was respiratory circulation failure.

According to information from the Chinese officials, investigation, epidemiological investigations revealed that the patients are mainly business operators at a market called “Hua Nan Seafood Wholesale Market” in Wuhan, which has been closed since January 1.