A 25-year-old Nevada man caught the novel coronavirus for the second time in as many months — just the fifth documented person to have been infected twice — and his illness was worse the second time around, a new study found.
The man tested positive the first time on April 18 after experiencing several weeks of sore throat, cough, headache, nausea and diarrhea but recovered by April 27, the MIT Technology Review reported Tuesday, citing a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.
He tested negative for the virus on May 9 and 26, but on May 28 he developed the previous symptoms along with fever and dizziness. On June 5, he tested positive again.
The man, who had no underlying conditions, was hospitalized once his lungs couldn’t get enough oxygen to the rest of his body, but has since recovered, MIT reported.
The doctors conducting the study compared the genomes of the coronavirus from the man’s two bouts of illnesses and found they were too different to have been caused by the same infection.
“The second infection was symptomatically more severe than the first,” the study’s authors wrote, noting that only one other such case, in Ecuador, has ever been reported in which symptoms worsened the second time.
The man is only the fifth known person in the world to have contracted the coronavirus twice, joining other cases in Hong Kong, Belgium and the Netherlands, according to the study.
As of Tuesday, roughly 38 million coronavirus cases and 1.1 million related deaths have been reported worldwide, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker. The U.S. leads the world in both categories with 7.8 million cases and 215,000 deaths.