Written by Samya Singh – a grade 9 student.
Patient Zero of COVID-19, it is believed, has been found. Apparently it was a 57-year-old shrimp seller in China’s Wuhan city. And she’s recovered.
Who is ‘patient zero’?
According to the dictionary, patient zero (also known as the index case) is the term used to refer to the person identified as the first carrier of a communicable disease in an outbreak of related cases. It’s basically the first person from whom a disease starts. Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus efforts have been going on to find ‘patient zero’. This seems like a mammoth task because the disease has affected over 680,200 people worldwide.
To understand this, let’s have a look at the events of the last 4 months.
Before the disease became a global concern, it was first seen in a city in China called Wuhan. It is believed to have originated in a seafood market there. In November last year, many workers began to show mysterious, pneumonia-like symptoms. But, no one could tell what it really was – while it seemed like Pneumonia, it was actually something else – it appeared deadlier. The Chinese knew that they had a new virus on their hands, but what that was, they had no idea.
At first they didn’t disclose this news. Then, on the 31st of December, Chinese health authorities reported the first case of COVID-19.
Now it has been found that a 57-year-old lady called Wei Guixian, who was a shrimp seller in a seafood market in Wuhan, was one of the first victims of coronavirus. It started with a cold and then turned serious. When her symptoms worsened and many people in the market also faced the same problems, the Chinese realised that it was not any regular flu.
Why is it important to find ‘patient zero’?
Finding patient zero would help medical researchers and doctors understand the exact origin and the time period of the disease, how it was transferred to humans, which animal exactly was it. All this information is very important to medical researchers who are working on vaccinations or studying the nature and structure of the virus.
Written by Samya Singh
Samya is 14-years old. She is an avid reader and also a pianist. Samya is also an operations associate at I Kid You Not
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