Research released by the health department in the state of Espírito Santo, southeastern Brazil on January 12 confirmed that people with COVID-19 had appeared in mid-December 2019, long before the world’s first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed.
In an analysis of more than 7,300 blood samples collected between December 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020, to detect local trends in dengue and chikungunya fever epidemics, the state’s central laboratory found antibodies to COVID-19 in 210 blood samples.
Of the 210 blood samples that tested positive for COVID-19, 79 showed that the patient had both dengue or chikungunya.
This shows that COVID-19 and dengue fever and chikungunya fever can be infected and transmitted at the same time.
The first of these cases to test positive for COVID-19 was a chikungunya fever patient sampled on December 18, 2019.
Rodrigo Rodríguez, director of the laboratory at the central region of Espírito Santo, said that although the first confirmed case of COVID-19 infection in Brazil was on February 26, 2020 and the first death of COVID-19 was only seen in March, current test results show that Dengue appeared before February of that year.
Epidemics such as fever and chikungunya fever have hindered the diagnosis of COVID-19 cases.