Health authorities say a Bavarian man contracted the virus from a colleague visiting from China. It is believed to be the first case of human-to-human transmission in Europe.
The first person in Germany to have tested positive for the new coronavirus was infected by a Chinese colleague who attended a company training event in the state of Bavaria a week ago, health officials said on Tuesday.
The colleague, a woman from Shanghai, “started to feel sick on the flight home on January 23,” Andreas Zapf, head of the Bavarian State Office for Health and Food Safety, said at a press conference.
The 33-year-old man who contracted the virus lives near Starnberg, 30 kilometers (18 miles) south of Munich, and is in a “medically good state,” according to the health authority.
People who had come into close contact with either of the infected individuals have been informed and are being monitored for any signs that the disease has spread.
The Bavarian case is the first known example outside of China of the infection spreading between people who are not closely related.
Last week, the infected man, who works for the auto parts supplier Webasto in Starnberg, had attended a training session with the visiting Chinese colleague before she returned to China and began showing symptoms of the illness. The woman had recently been visited in Shanghai by her parents, who come from the area around Wuhan, where the new virus is believed to have originated.
Her German colleague in Bavaria developed bronchitis-like symptoms over the weekend but recovered and felt well enough to go to work on Monday.
By that time, the Chinese colleague’s illness had been made known to the company, which then told its employees to report any symptoms to a doctor. The man tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday evening.
Approximately 50 cases have been recorded outside of China. Nearly all of the patients had recently returned from China. In a handful of international cases, the virus was passed on to family members.
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