San Lazaro Hospital patient dies of pneumonia, was under observation for coronavirus

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 29) — A 29-year-old man from Yunnan, China, who was under observation in San Lazaro Hospital in Manila for a possible novel coronavirus infection and tested positive for HIV died Wednesday morning due to pneumonia, health officials have confirmed.

Health officials, however, clarified that the man had not yet tested positive for infection of novel coronavirus, officially known as 2019-nCoV.

“There is nothing in the preliminary test results that would show that this death is caused by novel coronavirus,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said during Question Hour at the House of Representatives Wednesday afternoon.

Duque said samples from the man have been sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) to be tested for 2019-nCoV.

He said samples from the man had twice tested positive for HIV and for infection of Staphylococcus aureus — a bacteria that causes numerous kinds of illnesses.

In an earlier briefing, San Lazaro Hospital director Edmundo Lopez said the man, who was admitted Monday, was thin, had several lesions and “lung findings.”

HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, attacks CD4 cells in the body which helps it fight off infections. If left untreated, HIV can advance to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS and leave the body extremely vulnerable to infections.

READ: HIV 101: The basics, how to prevent it, and where to get tested

Samples from the man had been taken to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine for testing for the novel coronavirus, officially known as 2019-nCoV.

San Lazaro Hospital officials also confirmed earlier in the week that three Chinese nationals who have exhibited symptoms similar to 2019-nCoV infection have been admitted and are under investigation.

Two of them, a couple from Wuhan — the Chinese city at the center of the coronavirus outbreak — had been admitted since Friday. Only the man exhibited flu-like symptoms, but his partner was also admitted.

Another Chinese man from Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, was also admitted to the San Lazaro Hospital.

San Lazaro Hospital spokesperson Dr. Ferdinand de Guzman told CNN Philippines’ Newsroom Ngayon on Tuesday that the three are stable and recovering.

Duque said that 23 people are now under investigation in local health facilities for 2019-nCoV, with four other people having been released earlier. He said the four are still being monitored.

Seventeen of them are in Metro Manila, two are in Central Visayas, and there is one person under investigation each in Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Eastern Visayas and Davao. The DOH previously reported that there is one person under investigation in Northern Mindanao, but this is no longer included in its latest report on 2019-nCoV.

The number of people infected with 2019-nCoV has exceeded the number of cases during the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome outbreak, with at least 5,974 confirmed cases in mainland China, including 132 deaths, CNN reported.

The number of cases grew by almost 1,500 from Tuesday, an increase of over 30%. The figures do not include Hong Kong, Macau, and the self-governing island of Taiwan that China considers as its province. The three areas have reported a small number of cases.

The virus has also spread outside of China, with cases being reported in South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Sri Lanka and Australia.