An elderly woman in the Netherlands has become the first reported person to have died after getting reinfected with COVID-19.
The woman, who was 89, had a rare bone marrow type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma called Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia which compromised her immune system.
Researchers of the findings, which were published in the Oxford University Press, said that the woman initially attended an emergency department with a severe fever and cough before testing positive for the virus. She was discharged five days later and apart from some persisting fatigue, her symptoms “subsided entirely”.
However, 59 days after the start of her first COVID-19 episode and two days after starting a new chemotherapy treatment, the patient developed a fever, cough and shortness of breath, and again tested positive for coronavirus.
Tests for antibodies to the virus were negative at both days four and six, and the condition of the patient deteriorated on day eight. She died two weeks later.
Although researchers did not have negative COVID-19 tests between infections, they had access to test samples from both episodes and confirmed that the genetic makeup of the virus was different, making it likely that the woman was indeed suffering from reinfection rather than prolonged shedding.