China reports first death from pneumonia outbreak


Although the risk of avian flu to United Kingdom residents travelling to China remains very low, anyone planning to visit China, Hong Kong SAR or Taiwan should minimise their exposure to any birds such as wild birds or live birds in "wet markets" as a precaution.

Treatment failed to improve his symptoms and he died on January 9 due to heart failure.

Some patients worked at a seafood market where birds, snakes and rabbit organs were reportedly sold.

Beijing reported on Thursday that it suspected the unidentified illness as being caused by a new strain of coronavirus.

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The first case of viral pneumonia in China was diagnosed last month, but based on the current findings of the commission, there is no evidence for human-to-human transmission of the disease.

Overall, authorities have identified 41 cases of pneumonia tied to the viral infection, they said in another statement. The disease surveillance and monitoring came about as a response to a severe pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan.

"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 UK has robust arrangements to manage emerging diseases and we can draw on our experience of developing pioneering diagnostic tests in humans for the coronaviruses - SARS and MERS. Some coronaviruses are spread between animals, while others are transmitted from person-to-person and others not. The market was closed January 1.

Human cases of avian influenza have recently been reported in China, and historically there have been more cases at this time of year. But outside experts have noted that it can be hard to exclude that at this early point in the outbreak.

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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.

Meanwhile, health experts were praising the speed and transparency of the release of the genome sequence of the virus.

Such tools are urgently needed during outbreaks.

Coronaviruses are a specific family of viruses, with some of them causing less-severe damage, such as the common cold, and others causing respiratory and intestinal diseases.

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