Virus in Italy's waters 2 months before 1st case

Virus in Italy's waters 2 months before 1st case

The virus that causes COVID-19 was present in samples from Milan and Turin on December 18 and in Bologna on January 29.

These findings are consistent with the estimates of chinese scientists who rely on the appearance of the virus in mid-December at a market in Wuhan selling the game, even though Beijing has recently suggested that the virus could arrive in China from overseas.

Italy's first known non-imported virus case was a patient in the town in the northern Lombardy region.

Rome: Coronavirus-battered Italy became the latest country - and the third in Europe - to report presence of the virus in December 2019 or January 2020, well before the pandemic created havoc across the world, reports said on Friday.

An Italian study found that sewage water from several cities contained traces of the novel coronavirus last December, two months before the first confirmed case in the country.

Samples from October and November 2019 were negative, showing the virus had yet to arrive, La Rosa said.

On 21 February, the government designated Codogno a so-called red zone and ordered it shuttered, followed by nine other towns across Lombardy and Veneto.

They looked at 40 sewage samples collected from wastewater treatment plants in northern Italy between last October and February.

By early March it had extended the shutdown across the country and has now recorded more than 34,500 deaths.

The results found that the waters of two of the largest cities in the hard-hit northern regions - Milan and Turin - contained genetic traces of the virus on December 18.

The presence of the virus in the Italian waste water did not "automatically imply that the main transmission chains that led to the development of the epidemic in our country originated from these very first cases", La Rosa said.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, researchers across the world have been tracing the spread of the coronavirus through waste water and sewage, finding genetic traces from Brisbane to Paris and Amsterdam.

In its weekly report, the Higher Institute of Health (ISS) said the situation was generally positive, but that there was still a significant circulation of the virus.

The research has so far not linked any confirmed cases to the virus' earlier presence, but researchers have proposed using the system to monitor the presence of the new coronavirus in water systems in a bid to help identify any possible new outbreaks.

The institute explained it ideas to launch a pilot research in July to keep track of wastewater at web-sites recognized in tourist resorts.

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