A 56-year-old builder from Belgrade, who had not traveled abroad, was admitted to hospital on February 5, 2020 with fever, cough and difficulty breathing. He died a few hours later and an autopsy showed pneumonia as the cause of death.
Months later, however, scientists at the Forensic Medicine Institute of the Belgrade Medical School found evidence that the man had died from Covid-19.
Milenko Bogdanovic, a medical examiner, said a study by 12 scientists, published last week in the journal Frontiers in Medicine, showed that Covid-19 was present in Europe long before it was considered.
“Covid-19 was most likely the cause of an outbreak of pneumonia of unknown origin in January and February 2020,” the study authors wrote.
France announced the first SARS-CoV-2 outbreak of Covid-19 on 24 January 2020 and the first death from the disease on 15 February.
More than 111 million cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed worldwide and more than 2,500,000 people have died, according to a Reuters report.
Cases have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the official announcement of the outbreak in China in December 2019.
Milenko Bogdanovic says the scientists took a frozen sample of the patient’s vitreous fluid to prove the presence of the virus.
“It is, at present, the first post-mortem confirmed death from Covid-19 in Europe,” Bogdanovic said.
The first officially confirmed case of the virus in Serbia was recorded on March 6th, 2020.
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