Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology
Immunology and Infectious Disease | Infectious Disease | Microbiology | Public Health | Virus Diseases
Dr Li Wenliang, who lost his life to the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, became the face of the threat of SARS-CoV-2 to frontline workers, the clinicians taking care of patients. Li, 34, was an ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital. On 30th December, 2019, when the Wuhan municipal health service sent out an alert, he reportedly warned a closed group of ex-medical school classmates on the WeChat social media site of “Seven cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) like illness with links with the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market” at his hospital. He was among eight people reprimanded by security officers for “spreading rumours”. In a tragic turn of events, he subsequently contracted SARS-CoV-2 and, after a period in intensive care, died on the morning of Friday 7th February, 2020 (South China Morning Post, 2020).
This case is a stark reminder of the risks of emerging disease outbreaks for healthcare workers (HCWs). Dr Li Wenliang’s name is added to the long list of HCW that were at the forefront of outbreaks of SARS, Ebola, MERS and now SARS-CoV-2. It is important to recognise that it was the clinicians in Wuhan who sounded the alarm about the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 which was rapidly identified after these clinicians sent samples to a reference laboratory for next generation sequencing (NGS) (Zhou et al., 2020).
2019-nCoV, COVID-19, SARS-2-CoV, SARS-2, 2019 novel coronavirus disease, disease outbreaks, healthcare workers
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© 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of International Society for Infectious Diseases. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
DOI of Published Version
Int J Infect Dis. 2020 Mar 4;93:205-207. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2020.02.052. Link to article on publisher's site
International journal of infectious diseases : IJID : official publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases
Petersen E, Hui D, Hamer DH, Blumberg L, Madoff LC, Pollack M, Lee SS, McLellan S, Memish Z, Praharaj I, Wasserman S, Ntoumi F, Azhar EI, Mchugh TD, Kock R, Ippolito G, Zumla A, Koopmans M. (2020). Li Wenliang, a face to the frontline healthcare worker. The first doctor to notify the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2, (COVID-19), outbreak. Coronavirus COVID-19 Publications by UMMS Authors. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijid.2020.02.052. Retrieved from https://escholarship.umassmed.edu/covid19/3
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