Bronchiolitis and SARS-CoV-2

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Background: It has been speculated that the SARS-CoV-2 was already widespread in western countries before February 2020. Methods: We gauged this hypothesis by analysing the nasal swab of infants with either bronchiolitis or a non-infectious disease admitted to the Ospedale Maggiore, Milan (one of the first epicentres of SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in Europe) from November 2019. Results: The SARS-CoV-2 RNA was never detected in 218 infants with bronchiolitis (95 females, median age 4.9 months) and 49 infants (22 females, median age 5.6 months) with a non-infectious disease between November 2019 and February 2020. On the contrary, two infants hospitalised for bronchiolitis between March and April 2020 tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Conclusions: This study does not support the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 was already circulating among infants before the official outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, it shows for the first time that SARS-CoV-2 might cause bronchiolitis requiring hospitalisation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)999-1001
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • COVID-19
  • epidemiology
  • virology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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