Health

25-Year-Old Man Is First Known COVID-19 Reinfection Case In U.S.

The patient had the sixth known case of COVID-19 reinfection in the world, according to the European Centre For Disease Control.

A staff member taking a driver's temperature during COVID-19 | Getty Images
A staff member taking a driver's temperature during COVID-19 | Getty Images

A 25-year-old man had the first known case of COVID-19 reinfection in the U.S., scientists have confirmed. The man’s second case of the virus was “symptomatically more severe than the first,” scientists said, though he has since recovered.

It is the sixth confirmed case of reinfection in the world. 

According to a case study published Monday in medical journal “The Lancet,” the unnamed patient from Washoe County, Nevada, first tested positive for COVID-19 on April 18. The patient tested positive again on June 5. In between, the patient tested negative twice in May.

The patient had no “clinically significant underlying conditions” or known immune disorders. 

“These findings suggest that the patient was infected by SARS-CoV-2 on two separate occasions by a genetically distinct virus. Thus, previous exposure to SARS-CoV-2 might not guarantee total immunity in all cases,” the case study stated. “All individuals, whether previously diagnosed with COVID-19 or not, should take identical precautions to avoid infection with SARS-CoV-2.”

As of Tuesday, more than 37 million people have contracted COVID-19 around the world, including more than one million related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Including the Nevada patient’s case, there have only been six confirmed cases of COVID-19 reinfection according to the European Centre For Disease Control. The others were identified in Hong Kong, Belgium, Ecuador, and India. 

Dr. Michael Ryan, head of the emergencies programme at the World Health Organization, said earlier this month that its “best estimates” indicate that roughly one in 10 people worldwide may have been infected by the virus.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly listed the Nevada case as the fifth known reinfection globally. His case is one of six.