The first known case of COVID-19 in France ‘was in December’

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                Un hôpital français qui a retesté d'anciens échantillons de patients atteints de pneumonie a découvert qu'il avait traité un homme qui avait COVID-19 dès le 27 décembre, près d'un mois avant que le gouvernement français ne confirme ses premiers cas.
            

Yves Cohen, chef de la réanimation des hôpitaux Avicenne et Jean Verdier dans la banlieue nord de Paris, a déclaré aux médias français que les scientifiques avaient retesté des échantillons de 24 patients traités en décembre et janvier qui avaient été négatifs pour la grippe.

“Of the 24, we had one that was positive for COVID-19 on December 27,” he told the news channel on Sunday.

The samples were all originally collected to detect influenza using PCR tests, the same genetic screening process that can also be used to detect the presence of the new coronavirus in infected patients at the time of sample collection. .

Each sample has been retested several times to make sure there were no errors, he added. Neither Cohen nor his team were immediately available to comment on Monday.

France, which has seen nearly 25,000 people die from the virus since March 1, confirmed its first three cases of COVID-19 on January 24, including two patients in Paris and one in the southwest of the city of Bordeaux.

Cohen said it was too early to know if the patient whose December 27 test was positive for COVID-19 was France’s “zero patient”. Knowing who was first is essential to understanding how the virus spread.

Cohen said the patient survived and an initial investigation to find the first contamination was carried out.

“He was sick for 15 days and infected his two children, but not his wife, who works in a supermarket.

“He was amazed, he didn’t understand how he got infected. We put the puzzle together and he hadn’t made any trips. The only contact he had had was with his wife. “

The man’s wife worked alongside a sushi stand near colleagues of Chinese descent, said Cohen. It was unclear whether these colleagues had traveled to China, and the local health authority should investigate, he said.

“We wonder if it was asymptomatic,” he said.

“He may be the” patient zero “, but there may be others in other regions. All PCRs negative for pneumonia should be retested. The virus was probably circulating (at the time), “he said.

(REUTERS)

            

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