Media caption, The revisits Lombardy, the website of Europe's first major outbreak that coronavirus, to ask what walk wrong
Italian scientists say sewer water from 2 cities had coronavirus traces in December, long before the country's first confirmed cases.

The national Institute of health and wellness (ISS) stated water native Milan and also Turin showed genetic virus traces ~ above 18 December.

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It to add to evidence from other countries that the virus may have actually been turn much previously than thought.

Chinese officials shown the an initial cases in ~ the end of December. Italy's very first case was in mid-February.

In may French scientists stated tests ~ above samples proved a patient treated because that suspected pneumonia near Paris top top 27 December actually had the coronavirus.

Meanwhile in Spain a study uncovered virus traces in rubbish water collected in mid-January in Barcelona, some 40 days before the very first local case was discovered.

In their study, ISS scientists examined 40 sewer samples collected from wastewater treatment plants in north Italy between last October and also February.

Samples native October and November came back negative, mirroring that the virus had actually not yet arrived, ISS water quality skilled Giuseppina La Rosa said. Rubbish water native Bologna began showing traces of the virus in January.

The result could aid scientists understand just how the virus started spreading in Italy, multiple sclerosis La Rosa said.

However she said the research study did no "automatically indicate that the key transmission chains that resulted in the breakthrough of the epidemic in our nation originated from these very first cases".

Italy's an initial known non-imported virus instance was a patient in the city of Codogno in the Lombardy region. The city was closeup of the door off and declared a "red zone" ~ above 21 February. Nine other towns in Lombardy and neighbouring Veneto followed and the entire nation went into lockdown in beforehand March.

The ISS claimed the results shown the "strategic importance" of sewage water as an early detection tool since it have the right to signal the virus's presence prior to cases are clinically confirmed. Numerous countries are currently using the technique.

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The institute claims it aims to start a pilot task monitoring rubbish water at traveler resorts in July with a watch to setup up a nationwide garbage water security network later this year.