In February, the “Diamond Princess” was briefly the place with the most known coronavirus infections outside of China. Researchers have now analyzed how the pathogen got on board.
In February, the cruise ship “Diamond Princess” was quarantined for two weeks after the coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 was detected in one passenger. There was a major outbreak on the ship: more than 700 people contracted the pathogen, seven died. There were around 3,700 people on board.
Now a research team has analyzed the genetic sequence of numerous virus samples from the victims of the outbreak to create a kind of family tree. The result: the infections are most likely all due to a single infected person. The genetic analysis shows that all coronaviruses have the same mutation, reports the team of the Japanese Institute for Infectious Diseases in the journal “PNAS”. This indicates that the spread of the pathogen on board the “Diamond Princess” was based on a single event before the start of the quarantine period, the Japanese scientists around Makoto Kuroda concluded.
The researchers examined virus genome sequences from 148 passengers and crew members of the ship that had been placed under a 14-day quarantine on February 3 by the Japanese authorities in the port of Yokohama. The team reported that the infected passengers were spread across all 18 decks of the ship. They conclude that most infections occur at gatherings in areas where people dance, sing, watch performances, or shop. Most of those affected showed the first symptoms around February 7th.