Local health officials in Wuhan (Hubei province) confirmed on Thursday, January 16, that a second person has died from pneumonia following an outbreak of a potentially new type of coronavirus. According to officials, a 69-year-old man died on Wednesday, January 15, after being admitted to the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital in late December 2019. As of January 16, 41 cases of pneumonia have been reported in Wuhan, with six people remaining in critical condition. According to Wuhan officials, 313 people who have been in close contact with pneumonia patients are under medical observation.
Authorities also implemented fever screenings at Wuhan International Airport (WHU) to prevent the potential spread of a viral pneumonia on Wednesday after cases linked to the outbreak in Wuhan were reported in Thailand and Japan. Individuals will be subject to temperature tests before boarding their flights and those displaying fever symptoms will be quarantined as a precaution.
Further spread of the illness is possible over the near term.
The first associated death with the outbreak was reported on January 9. No immediate evidence of human-to-human transmission has been reported.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Individuals in China, particularly those in Hubei province, are advised to monitor the situation, anticipate additional security checks at the airport, take hygienic measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus (frequent hand washing, face mask, avoid contact with potential carriers of the disease), and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
People developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention.