Sewage analysis reveals Italy had COVID-19 in December 2019
MILAN/LONDON (ITALY/UK) – Scientists in Italy have found traces of the coronavirus in wastewater collected from Milan and Turin in December 2019, suggesting the virus was already circulating in the northern parts of the country before China reported the first cases.
The Italian National Institute of Health analysed 40 sewage samples collected from wastewater treatment plants in northern Italy between October 2019 and February 2020. An analysis released late on Thursday said samples taken in Milan and Turin on Dec. 18 showed the presence of the SARS-Cov-2 virus.
“This research may help us understand the beginning of virus circulation in Italy,” Giuseppina La Rosa, an expert in environmental wastewater at the Italian National Institute of Health who co-led the research, said in a statement detailing the findings.
Small studies conducted by scientific teams in the Netherlands, France, Australia and elsewhere have found that the virus can be detected in sewage, and many countries are beginning to use wastewater sampling to track the spread of the disease.
The institute said it plans to launch a pilot study in July to monitor wastewater at sites identified in tourist spots.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field