France is one of the european countries most affected by the new coronavirus, with more than 170,000 new crowns confirmed, of which 25,537 have died,media BGR reported. This figure is not exact, as France realized in mid-April that a large number of residents and health care workers living in nursing homes were at high risk of infection, although not all of them were tested for COVID-19. On top of that, there may be thousands of people who are asymptomatic, so they may not be recorded as COVID-19 positive — the same assumption, of course, is valid for any country dealing with a local outbreak of the new coronavirus.
France has been visiting patients who may have died after flu-like symptoms as early as December 2019, and found evidence that the region’s first case of COVID-19 could date back to the end of 2019, more than a month earlier than initially thought.
France’s first case of COVID-19 was reported on 27 January, but the outbreak did not appear to be brought under control until late February. Just then, a new corona outbreak in Europe broke out. The first COVID-19 cases could occur in late December 2019, according to new data from doctors in Paris. “COVID-19 has spread in France in late December 2019, nearly a month before the first case officially reported in the country,” said a team of researchers from the Saint-Denis Hospital Group on the Seine In Paris, cnn reported. The study was published Sunday in the International Journal of Antibacterial Agents.
Intensive care specialist Dr Yves Cohen and his colleagues studied early patient records to see if there were undiscovered COVID-19 cases. The team looked at all cases of flu-like symptoms admitted to hospital between 2 December and 16 January. They then tested frozen samples from the patients and found that a man had indeed contracted the new coronavirus.
“One of the samples was a positive sample taken from a 42-year-old man who was born in Algeria and had lived in France for many years and had been a fishmonger,” the team said. “His last trip was to Algeria in August 2019. “
The man has never been to China and one of his children has been ill. The man, who also suffers from asthma and type 2 diabetes, was discharged from hospital on 29 December after two days in hospital, after being treated with antibiotics. Four days later, however, his symptoms worsened and he returned to the emergency room with symptoms such as hemorrhage, headache and fever. Given that symptoms of the new coronavirus take two to 14 days to appear, researchers expect the man to have been infected in mid-December.
“The identification of the first infected person is of great epidemiological significance, as it has greatly changed our knowledge of SARS-COV-2 and its spread within the country. In addition, the lack of contact with China, and recent travel, suggest that by the end of December 2019, the disease had spread among the French population,” Cohen’s team wrote. “Our findings strongly support both assumptions that many asymptomatic patients were not diagnosed during January 2020 and contributed to the spread of the epidemic. “
If confirmed, these conclusions may indicate that the models in place in some countries to mitigate outbreaks may be inaccurate. The study did not explain where the patient sat.
A few days ago, a similar study was made in Italy. A team of doctors has found that the country’s first COVID-19 patients may have been in the country as early as January, or even earlier. The first cases in Italy were confirmed on January 31st, but were two tourists from China. The first Italians to have contracted the disease was found on 21 February. As in the French study, Italians believe their first cases may not have come directly from China. Instead, the new coronavirus may have been introduced into Italy from Germany.