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Posted by on Aug 12, 2020 in TellMeWhy |

Who Is Patient Zero for AIDS in USA?

Who Is Patient Zero for AIDS in USA?

Who Is Patient Zero for AIDS in USA? Why is the first person with a disease called patient zero and not patient one? The expression patient zero comes from epidemiology, or “the study of the spread of disease.” The source of infection for patient zero is a non human and patient zero is the source of infection to other humans.

In case of patient one he is the one who contract the disease from the one who introduced the disease. That is patient zero. Some authors argue it as a misnomer. Misnomer means something named wrongly.

In the 1980’s, researchers worked to decide why gay men in Los Angeles were dying of a mysterious disease, later identified as HIV/AIDS. Behavioral scientist William Darrow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) interviewed some infected men and noted that many had slept with the same Canadian flight attendant, Gaëtan Dugas.

In publishing his findings in 1984, Darrow labeled Dugas, an out-of-town subject, Patient O (letter O) for “outside of California,” and concluded Dugas was at the center of the HIV/AIDS outbreak in LA. A researcher, apparently, mistook Patient O for Patient Zero (0). In 1987, reporter Randy Shilts told the story of the AIDS epidemic in his influential book, And the Band Played On, referring to Dugas as patient zero based what he was told by that researcher. This helped spread patient zero into the mainstream.

It was later determined that Dugas was not, in fact, the person—the patient zero—who started the AIDS outbreak in LA. It had started in New York City in the 1970’s. But the expression patient zero stuck, replacing the synonymous index patient (or index case), recorded in the early 1900’s in many medical contexts.

Patient zero quickly entered the popular lexicon. By the 1990’s, it was already being used to describe imaginary scenarios like, say, the first person infected in a zombie apocalypse, taken more generally to mean the origin of a fast-spreading epidemic. So now we have got the answer for the question who is patient zero for AIDS in USA.

Content for this question contributed by Annmarie Colucci, resident of Roselle, Union County, New Jersey, USA