Forty cases of acquired immune deficiency syndome in 10 cities
have been traced through a chain of sexual contacts to a
homosexual man who may have been a carrier of the disease,
spreading it across the country without knowing he had it.
The man had sexual contact with eight other men who were found to
have AIDS. Four of the victims were in Los Angeles and four in
New York, according to an investigation by the Nation Centers for
Disease Control in Atlanta.
The eight victims had contact with others, and the disease
ultimately spread to San Francisco, Florida, Georgia, Texas,
Pennsylvania and New Jersey, to 10 cities in all. The names of
the cities other than Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York
were not disclosed, and the report did not identify which form of
sex the men engaged in.
The identification of this group of AIDS victims provides further
evidence for the widely held belief that the affliction is caused
by an infectious agent, said William Darrow, the head of the team
that tracked down the cases.
In a report in the current issue of The American Journal of
Medicine, Dr. Darrow and his colleagues identified a man they
call "Patient 0" who links cases in Los Angeles with those in
New York. Dr. Darrow thinks Patient 0 picked the syndrome up from
a contact in Los Angeles or New York and carried it across the
country to the others.
Patient 0 ultimately developed AIDS himself and is still alive,
according to Dr. Darrow's most recent information.
The link between the 40 victims was identified in early 1982, he
went on, when there were only 248 known cases among homosexual
men in the United States.
By March 19, 1984, AIDS had struck 3,775 people in the United
States and taken 1,642 lives, according to the researchers.