SARS-CoV-2 was already spreading in France in late December 2019

Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2020 Jun;55(6):106006. doi: 10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2020.106006. Epub 2020 May 3.


The COVID-19 epidemic is believed to have started in late January 2020 in France. Here we report a case of a patient hospitalised in December 2019 in an intensive care unit in a hospital in the north of Paris for haemoptysis with no aetiological diagnosis. RT-PCR was performed retrospectively on the stored respiratory sample and confirmed the diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. Based on this result, it appears that the COVID-19 epidemic started much earlier in France.

Keywords: COVID-19; Coronavirus disease 2019; France; Intensive care unit; SARS-CoV-2.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Betacoronavirus / isolation & purification*
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pandemics
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • SARS-CoV-2