Patient Zero Discovered in Wuhan’s Wet Markets

Patient Zero Discovered in Wuhan's Wet Markets

( – When COVID-19 began spreading, many pinned the origin to a wet market in Wuhan, China. That’s where vendors sell seafood and animals, such as bats, for human consumption. A new study has revealed patient zero, the first known person to have fallen ill with the virus.

Authorities thought an accountant in Wuhan was the first person who contracted COVID-19. However, recent evidence shows this person actually developed symptoms eight days later than researchers originally believed. The discovery means a female worker at the Huanan market is actually the first person known to carry the virus. The woman, who sold seafood at the market, started showing symptoms on December 11, 2019. Science Magazine published the information in a study on November 18.

Michael Worobey, author of the study and head of the ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, said the accountant was probably infected through community transmission when the virus started spreading. He lived 19 miles away from the market and had no connection to it.

The professor explained not only was the first case linked to the market, but the virus likely originated in the western section of the market where illegal wildlife like raccoon dogs were caged, saying there is “strong evidence of a live-animal market origin of the pandemic.” Wuhan’s and other Asian wet markets still pose potential risks for future, more threatening pandemics and diseases.

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