The Outbreak of COVID-19 in Italy

Human respiratory viruses have always been a potential threat to humans which predominantly infected upper and lower respiratory tracts. Berry et al., 2015 reported that viral infections of the respiratory tracts occur primarily in infants and children, who can encounter up to five to six episodes in any given year. Bicer et al., 2013 demonstrate that Acute respiratory infections (ARIs) have a detrimental effect on human health and majority of ARIs remain confined to the upper respiratory tract which includes pharyngitis, rhinosinusitis, laryngitis, and tracheitis while severe manifestations occur when lower respiratory tract get affected which includes bronchitis, bronchiolitis, and pneumonia.

Conto et al., 2019 jotted down about the viruses which are mostly associated with ARIs i. e. rhinoviruses (RV), enteroviruses (EV), adenoviruses (ADV), parainfluenza viruses (PIV), influenza viruses (FLU), respiratory syncytial viruses (RSV), and coronaviruses (CoV). New viruses have emerged over the past few years like human metapneumovirus (MPV), bocavirus (BoV). Four new human coronaviruses have been reported to be involved in ARIs are as follows: severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), human coronavirus NL63 (CoV-NL63), and human coronavirus HKU1 (CoV-HKU1). According to Jeon et al., 2019 influenza virus (FLU) is also responsible for causing ARIs.

National authorities in China informed World Health Organization (WHO) about the patients suffering with pneumonia of an unknown aetiology. The causal organism identified as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that causes coronavirus disease 2019, known as COVID-19.

Italy has become the flash point of the coronavirus pandemic and its death toll is staggering. According to WHO, 2020 Italy has 244,752 cases with 35073 deaths from the coronavirus outbreak. Therefore, a study led by Adriana Calderaro et al., 2020 in the Virology Unit of the Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma – University Hospital of Parma in Northern Italy.

This study has published in International Journal of Infectious Diseases and the purpose of this study was to identify the prevalence of respiratory virus infections, including the emerging SARS-CoV-2, over a 4-month period (December 2019 to March 2020) during the pandemic, via a tertiary care hospital-based survey in Parma, Northern Italy.

The results of this study exhibited a completely different trend between SARS-CoV-2 and the common respiratory viruses. The common viruses mostly affected children, without any distinction according to sex, while SARS-CoV-2 mostly affected adult males than women and principally those aged 30–65 years.

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