Dutch woman becomes first person to die after two Covid-19 infections

First patient with second case of coronavirus was man from Hong Kong

Graeme Massie
Wednesday 14 October 2020 00:34 BST
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An elderly Dutch woman is believed to be the first person to die after twice being infected with Covid-19.

Experts say the 89-year-old woman, who suffered from a rare type of bone marrow cancer, was first admitted to hospital earlier this year with a severe cough and fever after testing positive for the virus.

She was discharged five days later with “fatigue” but after her Covid-19 symptoms had gone.

Doctors say that two months later she started chemotherapy treatment for her cancer and developed a fever, coughing and breathing difficulties.

The woman, who has not been named, again tested positive for Covid-19 but was found to have no antibodies in her blood.

Her conditioned worsened on day eight of the second infection and she died two weeks later.

Researchers at Maastricht University Medical Center say her natural immune response could still have been “sufficient” to fight off coronavirus as her cancer treatment “does not necessarily result in life threatening disease.”

Experts say that after testing samples from both cases they found the genetic makeup of the two viruses were different.

“It is likely that the second episode was a reinfection rather than prolonged shedding,” they stated in their report.

The researchers concluded that Covid-19 reinfections are expected to occur once antibodies decrease and immunity wanes. 

 It is the first time that someone is reported to have died from a second spell of coronavirus, according to CNN.

Cases of reinfection have also been reported in the US, Hong Kong, Belgium and Ecuador.

A Nevada man became the first reinfection case in the US when he tested positive for Covid-19 in April and again in June.

Doctors say that in both cases he suffered from a sore throat, cough, headache, nausea and diarrhoea.

Unlike the Dutch woman he did not have underlying health issues but also suffered a more serious case the second time.

Researchers say that after the second sickness the man developed measurable antibodies.

A Hong Kong man was the first person to catch Covid-19 twice, but in his second case more than four months later he showed no symptoms.

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