Alliance for Pandemic Preparedness

February 11, 2020

Transmission of 2019-nCoV infection from an asymptomatic contact in Germany



  • Rothe, et al. have provided supplementary information regarding their NEJM Correspondence from 31 January, 2020 that reported asymptomatic transmission between a Chinese business traveler and colleagues in Germany. This supplement follows news reports that Bavarian officials found the index case to be potentially symptomatic during her time in Germany. The supplement provides new detail on the Chinese index case’s symptom timeline, based on a 5 February, 2020 interview with the case.
  • The index patient from China visited Germany and attended business meeting from 19-22 January, 2020. Per the original paper, “During her stay, she had been well with no signs or symptoms of infection but had become ill on her flight back to China…” The added information includes, among other updates, that:
    • Around midnight on 20 January, after awakening feeling “warm” but not “febrile,” the index case took an acetaminophen-containing medication 
    • Around 3 pm on 21 January, she felt fatigue – which she attributed to jet lag – and “…noticed …minor pain ‘in some muscles and the bones of her chest’ when [touching] trigger points”
    • After her arrival in Shanghai, on 23 January, was the first time she reported feeling sick.
  • Roth, et al. make no further comment on the original paper, supplying only the added timeline.

Supplement to: Rothe C, Schunk M, Sothmann P, et al. Transmission of 2019-nCoV infection from an asymptomatic contact in Germany. N Engl J Med. Available from: