A 33-year-old German man may be the first European to have contracted the infection of the new coronavirus and to have transmitted it.

This was reported by a letter from German doctors published in the New England Journal of Medicine on March 5.

The man experienced respiratory symptoms and high fever on January 24th. The symptoms improved and he returned to work on January 27th. On 20 and 21 January he attended a meeting in which a colleague from Shanghai was present, who remained in Germany from 19 to 22 January without experiencing any disturbance.

The woman, however, began to feel ill on the return flight to China, where she was found positive for the 2019-nCov virus on January 26. On the 27th, she informed her German partners of her positivity and tests began in Germany on colleagues who had met her, including the 33-year-old man, who was found positive for the virus although now asymptomatic.

On January 28, three other employees of the same company were found positive, who had had contact with the man when he was asymptomatic.

“It is to be noted – the authors of the communication write – that the infection seems to have been transmitted during the incubation period, when the symptoms were mild and non-specific” and add: “In this context, the fact that the virus was found in significant quantities in the sputum of man even in his recovery period poses the problem of the virus transmissibility even after the end of the symptoms, although this viral load detected with the test is still to be confirmed through a culture of the virus”.

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