A Frenchman hospitalised with flu-like symptoms at a facility near Paris on December 27 has now turned out to have been infected with coronavirus, in a finding that contradicts the government's official line about the disease spreading in the country towards the end of January. Highlighting the case of the 42-year-old man, Bloomberg reported that the case raises several pressing questions, including if the first coronavirus infection in the country occurred among people who had returned from Wuhan, the epicenter of the global pandemic.
Bloomberg reported that the man, who is said to have Algerian roots, was admitted in the hospital with cough, headache and fever, for which he was treated with antibiotics and subsequently discharged after a couple of days. He was found diagnosed with coronavirus after doctors retrospectively tested his medical samples along with a bunch of others, later detailing the findings in a report. The man had no recent international travel history, having only made a trip to Algeria in August last year, the publication reported.
In their published report, the authors noted that one of his children had also exhibited flu-like symptoms before he developed them himself. Drawing upon the case, the authors reasoned that many asymptomatic patients could have gone undiagnosed in the first weeks of January 2020, which might have led to the spread of the virus.
“Identifying the first infected patient is of great epidemiological interest as it changes dramatically our knowledge regarding Sars-CoV-2 and its spreading in the country,” Bloomberg quoted Yves Cohen, the head of intensive care at two large hospitals northeast of Paris, and colleagues stating in their report.
“Moreover, the absence of a link with China and the lack of recent travel suggests that the disease was already spreading among the French population at the end of December,” they also reportedly wrote.
World-o-meter, the global coronavirus tracking website, has recorded close to 1.70 lakh cases from France, resulting in 25,201 deaths.