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Puzzling case in Snohomish County Washington: 64 y/o woman had flu-like symptoms starting December 27, now has positive SARS-COV-2 serum antibodies


flu by Steve Buissinne courtesy of

The Seattle Times has reporting on a 64 year old woman patient who fell ill on December 27 with a persistent dry cough, fever, body aches, and eventually wheezing.  She finally had antibody testing a few weeks ago by a reliable lab at the University of Washington (an Abbott branded test) which was reported positive as of May 1.  Doctors who reviewed the case claim that she must have had an asymptomatic case of COVID-19 after this highly symptomatic illness.  The patient, who appears to be quite sophisticated (highly knowledgable), is not so sure.

If her illness at the end of December was due to the new virus, it would be the first in the US.  A similar date is definitely ascribed to a case in France that was diagnosed by re-examination of specimens taken at the time he was ill– December 27.  That man was a 42 year old fishmonger who complained of chest pain and shortness of breath.  At the time, doctors felt he had an unknown virus; they stored samples taken during his acute illness and he recovered.  Recently, an evaluation of many stored samples located his and found he was the first known case in France.

The French case came from unknown predecessors.  The man’s wife sold fish in a local market; she did not become ill, but the family’s children did.  Previously, the first known case in France had been January 24 and the first known case in the US had been reported January 21.  Cases of this nature are confusing and no firm conclusions may ever be drawn.

The first known case in China fell ill December 1, and had no known connection to the Wuhan live animal or “wet” market which has been blamed for the virus’ jump from animals to humans– although this too is controversial.

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