Updated: October 14, 2020 5:48:15 pm
An elderly woman in the Netherlands has become the first known person to die after being reinfected by Covid-19. The patient was suffering from a rare type of bone marrow cancer, as a result of which her immune system was compromised, according to researchers at Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands.
Nearly two months after testing positive for the novel coronavirus for the first time, the 89-year-old woman began receiving chemotherapy treatment for Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia, a malignant disorder of the bone marrow and lymphatic tissues.
However, two days into the treatment she developed several Covid-19 symptoms, including fever, cough and difficulty breathing, CNN reported. She tested positive for a second time, although two tests for coronavirus antibodies both came back negative. She succumbed to the deadly infection two weeks later, researchers said.
In their paper, which was first published in the Oxford University Press, the Dutch researchers stated that the patient was initially admitted to hospital earlier this year after she started complaining of severe cough and fever. She tested positive for Covid-19, but was discharged five days later when “besides some persisting fatigue her symptoms subsided completely”.
While the woman was not tested between infections, the researchers found that the genetic makeup of the two viruses were different. Based on this they concluded that “it is likely that the second episode was a reinfection rather than prolonged shedding.”
According to a report by the Telegraph, researchers have so far confirmed 23 cases of Covid-19 reinfection, but in every case until this one, the patient has made a full recovery.
A 33-year-old man in Hong Kong was the first person to be reinfected by Covid-19, CNN reported. He contracted the illness for the second time around 4.5 months after testing positive for the first time.
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