PARIS, France (CNN) – Doctors at a hospital in the French capital, Paris, said Monday that they found evidence that a patient had contracted the emerging coronavirus (Covid-19) last December.
Groupe Hospitalier Paris Seine doctors added that their findings, if verified, show that the virus was already spreading in Europe as early as the end of 2019.
“The Covid-19 was already deployed in France in late December 2019, a month before the first (registered) cases officially in the country,” the hospital’s medical team wrote.
Covid-19’s first reports were reported in France on January 24, when two people who had traveled to Wuhan, China, were the epicenter of the world’s first epidemic.
Yves Cohen and his colleagues at the Paris Hospital decided to check the records of patients who fell ill before, to see if the virus had spread earlier and had not been discovered.
Researchers in the United States began to find evidence that the virus was infecting and killing people earlier than the first reported cases there.
The French medical team looked at people hospitalized with influenza-like illness between December 2 and January 16, and they were not diagnosed with the flu at the end. They can go back and test their samples because they are stored in the freezer. They subjected these samples to the Corona virus.
“One sample was positive, taken from a 42-year-old man, who was born in Algeria and lived in France for many years and worked as a fish trader,” the team wrote in the International Journal of Antimicrobials.
The French team indicated that the man was “his last flight in Algeria during August 2019”, that he was not in China, and one of his children was also ill.
“The identification of the first infected patient is of great epidemiological importance, because it significantly changes our knowledge regarding SARS COV-2 and its prevalence in the country. Moreover, the lack of connection with China and the recent decline in travel indicate that the disease was already spreading among the French population,” the team said. At the end of December 2019. “
Europe did not begin reporting Corona cases until January. In Italy, the European country most affected by the virus, the first two cases were reported on January 31, by Chinese tourists in Rome. The first known community transition was registered in February in the city of Codugno, northern Italy.