China reports first death from pneumonia outbreak

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One person has died from a mysterious pneumonia outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the first death that's been linked to a new coronavirus. The remaining patients were in stable condition.

Chinese researchers used a sample from one patient to conduct gene sequencing of the virus, said Gauden Galea, a World Health Organization representative to China.

The man, who also had underlying health issues including chronic liver disease, died in hospital on Thursday of "respiratory failure and severe pneumonia", the commission added.

More than 8,000 people were sickened between 2002 and 2003 during an outbreak of sudden acute respiratory syndrome in China and Hong Kong, killing almost 800 people and sparking a global health panic.

Several other suspected cases of the illness have also been observed in both Hong Kong and South Korea, many of them involving people who recently traveled to Wuhan.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention put out a health alert advising physicians who treat patients with pneumonia-like illness to consider a possible link to the Chinese outbreak and to wear masks and take other precautions in treating patients who recently travelled to Wuhan.

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Numerous patients had worked at a seafood market where wild animals such as pheasants and snakes, as well as rabbit organs, had also been sold.

"Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that range from the common cold to SARS".

According to the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, the diagnoses showed 41 cases suffer from pneumonia caused by a preliminarily determined new type of coronavirus.

"The emergence of the epidemic may cause panic among people, especially in areas where people are concentrated during the Spring Festival travel period", the ministry's chief engineer, Wang Yang, told reporters at a news conference Thursday. The market was closed January 1. None have yet been diagnosed with the new coronavirus.

Another coronavirus causes MERS, or Middle East respiratory syndrome, which started in Jordan and Saudi Arabia in 2012 and spread into about two dozen other countries.

"There is no clear evidence proving human-to-human transmission".

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