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03/26/2013

Latest death from the novel coronavirus

Astute folks on Twitter have noticed a German-language newspaper article reporting the latest -- and now eleventh -- death from the novel coronavirus, or nCoV.

According to TZ Online, the latest victim is reportedly a 73-year-old man from the United Arab Emirates who fell sick in Abu Dhabi and was flown by private jet to Munich for treatment. Fifty people who came in contact with this patient are now being monitored for any symptoms of the disease.

German newspaper Bild reports that the victim was from a "ruling family" in Dubai and caught the infection at a camel race. There is strong evidence to suggest the virus comes from bats, which may be infecting another animal that more frequently comes into contact with humans.

This is Germany's second imported case of the novel coronavirus -- the first was a patient who fell sick in Qatar and recovered in November after being treated at a specialty clinic in Germany.

This latest fatality comes on the heels of another death from the novel coronavirus, this one in the United Kingdom. The Birmingham Mail reported on Saturday that Abid Hussain -- a 60-something father of two who recently visited Saudi Arabia with his daughter -- succumbed to the virus on March 19. He fell sick in late January shortly after returning from his trip, according to the newspaper.

Hussain's wife and daughter were not by his side when he died because they were in Pakistan burying Hussain's son, Khalid, who was also infected with the novel coronavirus and died February 17. According to the Birmingham Mail, Khalid, a father of two, was undergoing chemotherapy when his father returned from Saudi Arabia and, in all likelihood, infected him with the virus.

A third person, reportedly a 30-year-old woman who visited Hussain in the hospital, was also mildly infected but has now recovered.

Update: here is a Google-translated German-language press release from the Munich hospital announcing the latest death.

Update 2: the World Health Organization has now posted an official statement on the latest coronavirus developments.

Jennifer Yang is the Toronto Star’s global health reporter. She previously worked as a general assignment reporter and won a NNA in 2011 for her explanatory piece on the Chilean mining disaster. Follow her on Twitter: @jyangstar

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