The coronavirus has been spreading around the world from China since December 2019. But now an analysis shows that a case already occurred in Italy in November 2019.
When a 25-year-old woman had a skin rash examined in Milan on 10 November 2019, no one had thought of a new type of coronavirus. The young Italian woman had a skin sample taken by biopsy and that was it. The woman had no other health problems.
Now the Milanese woman has possibly been identified as the first patient of the Covid 19 pandemic. The discovery was made by an international team of researchers coordinated by the Università Statale di Milano.
"In this pandemic, there are cases where skin irritation is the only symptom," says Milan pathologist Raffaele Gianotti, according to the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. He and his colleagues had therefore looked again at atypical skin samples from the last months of 2019, for which there was no clear diagnosis at the time. "I wondered if we could find clues in skin samples even before the officially recognised start of the epidemic."
The 25-year-old's biopsy from 10 November finally revealed genetic sequences of the virus' RNA. She had no further symptoms, said the patient, according to "Repubblica", when she was now contacted again. The skin irritations had disappeared after five months. In a serological test, antibodies were detected in her in June 2020, the researchers wrote in the "British Journal of Dermatology".
La Republica: Covid, nuovo paziente 1 in Italia: è una 25enne milanese con dermatosi atipica positiva a novembre del 2019COVID-19 related dermatosis in November 2019. Could this case be Italy’s patient zero?
British Journal of Dermatology: COVID‐19 related dermatosis in November 2019. Could this case be Italy’s patient zero?