In search of “patient zero”: the scientists are looking for a person, which began with the outbreak of coronavirus

While CoVID-2019 is rapidly spreading across the globe, scientists around the world are trying to find “patient zero” — the first person who contracted the coronavirus. Advances in genetic analysis allow us to trace the ancestry of the virus through those he has infected. In conjunction with the epidemiological studies, scientists can pinpoint people who may have been the first who began to spread the disease, and thereby provoked the outbreak. The definition of “patient zero” can help to solve crucial questions about how, when and why an outbreak. This can help to prevent the infection of a large number of people now and in the future.

What is known about the source of the coronavirus?

Initially, the Chinese authorities announced that the first case of the coronavirus was reported on 31 December 2019. All subsequent cases of infection were immediately associated with the seafood market in Wuhan, in Hubei province — the epicentre of the outbreak CoVID-2019. Almost 82% of the more than 78,000 deaths in China and worldwide, in Hubei. Such data are cited by the Johns Hopkins University. Read more about the search for drugs against the coronavirus, read our special article.

However, in the work of Chinese experts, published in the journal Lancet, it is argued that the first case of infection CoVID-2019 was registered 1 December 2019 and this person is “no contact” with the seafood market in Wuhan. As reported by BBC News, the patient was an elderly man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The man lived in four or five bus stops away from the seafood market, and as I was ill, didn’t leave the house. In the following days, three other people have developed symptoms – two of them also visited the seafood market. Whom specifically are zabolevanie and if they have been contacted by an elderly man not specified.

The researchers also found that 27 people (out of a sample of 41 patients) admitted to the hospital at the beginning of the epidemic, and visited the seafood market. Recall that the world health organization (who) considers as the most probable hypothesis about the origin of the coronavirus in the seafood market in Wuhan. Experts believe that one of the wild animals that were traded in the market, could infect a person. Only after a while the virus began to spread from person to person.

Whether “patient zero” cause of the epidemic?

So can one person to create an epidemic or even a pandemic? The Ebola outbreak in West Africa in the years 2014-2016 was the largest since the virus was first discovered in 1976. According to who data, it claimed the lives of more than 11 000 people and infected at least 28 000 people. The outbreak lasted more than two years, but cases have been recorded in 10 countries. Later, scientists came to the conclusion that the outbreak of a new strain of Ebola started with one person – two year-old boy from Guinea who probably became infected by playing in a hollow tree inhabited by a colony of bats.

But the most famous “patient zero” is Mary Mallon, whose nickname was Typhoid Mary. So the woman began to call due to the outbreak of typhoid in new York in 1906. Originally from Ireland, Mallon emigrated to the U.S., where he worked as a cook for wealthy families. After several cases of typhoid fever, the doctors traced the outbreak until Mallon. Without exception, all of the families that was prepared by a woman who was sick with typhoid fever. Subsequently, the doctors determined that Typhoid Mary was a healthy carrier — such people infected, but the symptoms of the disease or a little bent, or missing completely. This person is contagious to others. Currently, there is increasing evidence that some people are spreading viruses more effectively than others. This “super distributor” of the coronavirus believed to be Chinese, which was not ill herself, but was immediately infected five people.