First Case in France was in December 2019, from a Patient Who Had Not been to China

From Science Alert:

In France, a cluster of cases was discovered in late January.

But a new study published in the International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents has suggested the virus was already in the country a month earlier.

A retrospective analysis of samples taken from 14 intensive care patients with influenza-like symptoms at the Avicenne and Jean-Verdier hospitals in Paris found one positive COVID-19 case – a 42-year-old French resident who had not visited China. He was hospitalised on December 27.

Olivier Bouchaud, head of the infectious diseases department at Avicenne said at first the virus spreads “quietly in the population, without anyone detecting its presence”.

So evidence of earlier infections would only confirm what many scientists had suspected, he told AFP.

It might also help explain cases like that of Aicha, a 57-year-old medical secretary who was hospitalised in Marseille in mid-January with severe respiratory symptoms.

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