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Journal of Clinical Virology
Volume 129, 2020, 104470

Trend of respiratory pathogens during the COVID-19 epidemic

GiuseppeSberna, Alessandra Amendola, Maria Beatrice Valli, Fabrizio Carletti, Maria Rosaria Capobianchi, Licia Bordi, Eleonora Lalle

National Institute for Infectious Diseases “Lazzaro Spallanzani” IRCCS, Rome, Italy.


In Italy, the first SARS-CoV-2 infections were diagnosed in Rome, Lazio region, at the end of January 2020, but sustained transmission occurred later, since the end of February. From 1 February to 12 April 2020, 17,164 nasopharyngeal swabs were tested by real time PCR for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 at the Laboratory of Virology of National Institute for Infectious Diseases “Lazzaro Spallanzani” (INMI) in Rome. In the same period, coincident with the winter peak of influenza and other respiratory illnesses, 847 samples were analyzed by multiplex PCR assay for the presence of common respiratory pathogens. In our study the time trend of SARS-CoV-2 and that of other respiratory pathogens in the same observation period were analysed. Overall, results obtained suggest that the spread of the pandemic SARS-CoV-2 virus did not substantially affect the time trend of other respiratory infections in our region, highlighting no significant difference in rates of SARS-CoV-2 infection in patients with or without other respiratory pathogens. Therefore, in the present scenario of COVID-19 pandemic, differential diagnosis resulting positive for common respiratory pathogen(s) should not exclude testing of SARS-CoV-2.

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, Respiratory pathogens, Trend of infection.

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