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Charité patient report: First corona case in Germany at the end of 2019?

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Charité patient report: First corona case in Germany at the end of 2019?

On January 27, 2020, the Munich Tropical Institute confirmed the first corona case in Germany. A 33-year-old man was infected by a colleague who had traveled from China to the auto supplier Webasto. 16 more followed.

But wasn’t the Webasto employee “Patient Zero”? A patient report from the Berlin Charité indicates an earlier case. It was published in the Journal of Medical Case Reports last Friday.

Charité patient with atypical pneumonia

In it, the Charité doctors report on a 71-year-old man who was admitted on December 30 with respiratory problems and fever. The patient was overweight, a smoker and had previously suffered a stroke. With the help of CT scans, the doctors diagnosed an atypical lung infection (pneumonia) – “including viruses as a possible causative agent,” says the report. They ruled out an infection with legionella and streptococci, but no further search was made for the pathogen.

The patient was treated with antibiotics, artificially ventilated and even intubated for several days. On January 28, he was discharged home with “a severe persistent neurological deficit.” That means he suffered severe brain damage. In April he died.

In addition, a family member who had regularly visited the sick 71-year-old in the clinic suffered from a fever of up to 41 degrees for several days. But here, too, no pathogen diagnosis was carried out.

“The case indicates that Covid-19 was already spreading in Germany in December 2019”

The doctors write: “Unfortunately, the blood samples from our patients are no longer available for further analysis.” Otherwise they could have carried out PCR tests. But CT findings are also a strong indication. Because in retrospect you can see the “characteristic appearance and distribution pattern of a Covid 19 pneumonia” on the still existing pictures.

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Her conclusion: “In view of the findings of the chest computed tomography (CT), it is likely that our patient is one of the earliest cases of Covid-19 in Germany. The clinical course is consistent with this assumption.” And further: “This case indicates that Covid-19 was already spreading in Germany in December 2019.”

There are also similar reports from neighboring European countries. The first official corona case in Europe was detected in France on January 24th. The
case report
An intensive care patient near Paris from December 2019 now also points to an earlier outbreak. Also in northern Italy
in wastewater samples
from December 18 Sars-CoV-2 RNA detected.

What do the earlier cases mean in concrete terms?

The World Health Organization (WHO) and Western experts repeatedly criticize China‘s lack of transparency in dealing with the corona pandemic and its origin. China first informed the WHO of the cases on December 31, 2019. The earlier possible infections in Germany and Europe could now be an indication that there had been infections in China before that were not officially reported.

The new findings are also likely to further fuel the current debate. Recently, new data from the Chinese epidemic protection agency had caused a stir. Virologist Alexander Kekulé questioned the timing of the data release, the results of the samples and the integrity of China. “It stinks to high heaven,” he said in the MDR podcast.

Read here: “Stinks to heaven”: Top virologist Kekulé criticizes the raccoon dog study

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