Three doctors in China have succumbed to the novel coronavirus, which has now spread to more than 30 countries from its origin in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
Xiaogan Central Hospital, located in the city of Xiaogan in central China’s Hubei Province, published an obituary on its website on Feb. 23 for one of its doctors, 42-year-old Huang Wenjun.
Huang, a deputy chief physician of the hospital’s department of respiratory medicine, died at around 7:30 p.m. local time on Feb. 23. The hospital didn’t specify when he contracted the virus, but said he died after several failed rescue attempts.
According to China’s state-run Beijing Youth Daily, Huang graduated from Wuhan University with a degree in clinical medicine in June 2001. He started working at the hospital two months after graduation. He was named a deputy chief physician in 2012.
Also on Feb. 23, Chinese state-run media Xinhua reported that Xia Sisi, 29, a female gastroenterologist working at the Wuhan branch of Union Hospital, which is affiliated with Huazhong University of Science and Technology, died at around 6:30 a.m. local time on Feb. 23.
Xinhua stated that Xia came into contact with an infected patient on Jan. 14. Five days later, Xia began feeling weak and had a fever. She then began receiving treatment at the hospital where she worked.
Her condition worsened on Feb. 7, and she was then transferred to Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University for treatment.
The escalating outbreak began in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province. Health authorities in Wuhan have said they suspect that the 2019-nCoV virus strain originated from a local wet market where wild animals were sold. Some international researchers have cast doubt on this theory.
The virus has now spread to more than 30 countries, killing at least 12 people in Iran, eight in South Korea, six in Italy, four in Japan, two in Hong Kong, and one each in France, the Philippines, and Taiwan.
In the United States, there have been 35 confirmed cases, with no fatalities.
The third victim on Feb. 23 was Du Xiansheng, a 55-year-old doctor who worked at a hospital located in Qiongzhong Li and Miao County in China’s island province of Hainan.
While it’s not known how Du became infected with the virus, there were patients from Wuhan at the hospital where he worked, according to China’s state-run media People’s Net.
Du developed symptoms including a fever, cough, headache, shortness of breath, and muscle and joint soreness while at work on Jan. 18. He tested positive for the virus on Jan. 25.
His condition worsened on Jan. 26, and he passed away at 1:50 p.m. local time on Feb. 23 at the Hainan People’s Hospital.
The latest fatalities came on the heels of the death of Peng Yinhua, a 29-year-old doctor at the Jiangxia district People’s No. 1 Hospital in Wuhan on Feb. 20.
Since the outbreak, Peng had been treating coronavirus patients who arrived at his hospital. He began exhibiting virus symptoms on Jan. 25 and was diagnosed several days later. He is survived by his wife, who is six months pregnant.