Beijing: A 61-year-old Chinese man has become the first fatality in an outbreak of a new strain of pneumonia in Wuhan city, raising concerns over the spread of the mysterious virus, local health authorities said on Saturday.
Tentative diagnosis showed 41 people suffering from pneumonia caused by a preliminarily determined new type of coronavirus, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission said in a statement.
The patient with viral pneumonia has been confirmed dead in Wuhan, and seven others are in critical condition, the health authorities said.
The rest were in stable condition, among which two have been discharged from the hospital, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
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.
On January 5, Wuhan reported 59 viral pneumonia cases with causes unknown previously.
Many of the patients had worked at a seafood market where wild animals such as pheasants and snakes, as well as rabbit organs, had also been sold. The market has since been closed, Hong-Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.
"There is no clear evidence proving human-to-human transmission. People who have been in close contact with the patients, including medical workers, have not been infected," the commission said.
The patients' condition and epidemic situation are currently under control, said Wang Guangfa, a member of the national medical expert team dealing with the situation.
The proportion of severe cases is similar to that among common pneumonia cases, Wang said.