‘Patient Zero’: The Misunderstood Stories of How Disease Spreads

November 10, 2016

(CNN) –  “Patient zero” is still frequently used to describe index cases — the first documented cases of a disease observed or reported to health officials.  Many scientists and public health officials are loath to identify those patients and avoid the term “patient zero” altogether, said Thomas Friedrich, an associate professor of pathobiological sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Veterinary Medicine.