In the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan, a man died of a mysterious viral lung disease that recently broke out.
He is the first to succumb to the virus. This is a 61-year-old man who is probably infected at a local fish market, where many live animals are also sold. It is therefore possible that it has been transmitted to humans via birds or other animals.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the outbreak may have been caused by a new type of corona virus. There is as yet no evidence that the virus can be transmitted from person to person, say the Chinese authorities.
An initial exploratory study by Chinese scientists shows that the virus belongs to the virus family that also includes SARS. The SARS virus is considered to be one of the most dangerous viruses of our time. Nearly 800 people died in 2002 and 2003. No new cases of SARS have been reported since 2004.
The first case of virus infection was reported in December in Wuhan. The virus has been diagnosed in 41 people so far. Seven of them are in a worrying state.
The fish market where the patients became infected is closed and disinfected. The United States is calling on Americans traveling to Wuhan to wear masks and have no contact with animals.
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