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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health