Turkish Cypriot media are reporting on new information about patient zero in the north, saying the first known case to have contracted the coronavirus was not a German tourist after all but a local teenager whose sample had been tracked down by a team of scientists.
According to Halkın Sesi, a team at Near East University in north Nicosia claims that the first known case of coronavirus last year within the Turkish Cypriot community was a local 17-year-old male, contrary to reports at the time that identified a German tourist as patient zero, a term used for identifying the first documented patient in a disease epidemic.
The scientists evaluated samples between September 2019 and March 2020 to determine whether people suspected of a respiratory tract infection also tested positive to COVID-19
The scientists made the finding after evaluating 172 samples taken between 1 September 2019 and 15 March 2020, focusing on those suspected of a respiratory tract infection in an attempt to determine whether they also tested positive to COVID-19.
According to the report, the male teenager in question had checked into a hospital in his area in Famagusta with symptoms of fever, cough, severe muscle aches and joint pain. He then transferred to Near East University Hospital just north of Nicosia.
The boy’s sample dated March 11 tested positive and was reconfirmed at least twice by a reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (real time RT–PCR), a test that had many advantages over conventional methods.
Additional reports said that judging from the incubation period between 2 and 14 days, the new information would suggest that the Turkish Cypriot teenager got infected before the German tourist.
It was not immediately clear whether the teen had traveled overseas last March, while his history of contacts was also not made known.