UAE man dies from novel coronavirus in Germany

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Mar 26, 2013 (CIDRAP News) – A man from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) hospitalized in Germany with a novel coronavirus (NCoV) infection died today, according to reports from German health officials and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Germany's Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said in a statement in German that the man died today from a severe infection. He had an underlying illness and was on a ventilator when he was flown to Munich and hospitalized on Mar 19 and diagnosed with an NCoV infection on Mar 23. The RKI also said lab tests revealed other respiratory pathogens, but it did not say which ones.

The World Health Organization (WHO) today confirmed the patient's NCoV infection and death, noting that he was a 73-year-old man who had been transferred by air ambulance from a hospital in Abu Dhabi to Munich.

In its statement the WHO also confirmed the death of a British man who was the index patient in a recent family case cluster of NCoV infections. The latest developments push the global number of confirmed NCoV cases to 17, including 11 deaths.

The WHO said it is working with experts and countries that have reported cases to assess the situation and review recommendations for surveillance and reporting. It reminded countries to promptly report any new NCoV cases, including information about potential exposures and a description of the clinical course.

WHO's statement included no other information about the cases, but new details about German's latest imported case were included in some media reports. According to a report in German today from Bild, a newspaper based in Berlin, the man died of "circulatory shock" at Munich Municipal Hospital. It said the man was a member of the ruling family of Dubai and got sick after going to a camel race.

The RKI said the identification of a second imported NCoV case in Germany doesn't increase the risk to the general population, because so far there is no evidence of sustained human-to-human transmission.

Global health officials have not determined how the virus spreads to humans, but genetic sequencing studies have suggested that the new virus is most closely related to bat coronaviruses.

So far all countries linked to the infections are in the Middle East: Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE. Two of the patients in the three-person British family cluster did not have a recent travel history, but they did have contact with the index patient, who had recently traveled to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in an update today that NCoV symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It said NCoV isn't like any other coronavirus that has infected humans before, including SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). However, it added that, like SARS, NCoV is most similar to coronaviruses found in bats.

Investigators are trying to determine the source of the virus and how it spreads, the CDC said. It added that coronaviruses usually infect only one species or a small number of related species. However, the CDC noted that the SARS coronavirus can infect a range of people and animals, including monkeys, Himalayan palm civets, raccoon dogs, cats, dogs, and rodents.

So far no infections have been reported in the United States, and no travel warnings have been posted for any countries.

See also:

Mar 26 RKI statement

Mar 26 WHO statement

Mar 26 Bild Google translation

Mar 26 CDC update

Mar 25 CIDRAP News story "Germany, Saudi Arabia report new novel coronavirus cases"

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