“Strange pneumonia” circulating in Italy before Wuhan outbreak, leading Italian doctor says
In an interview with NPR, one of Europe’s leading medical experts said that a “strange pneumonia” was circulating in Lombardy as early as November, weeks before doctors detected the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.
Giuseppe Remuzzi, director of the Mario Negri Institute for Pharmacological Research in Milan said that
“They (general practitioners) remember having seen very strange pneumonia, very severe, particularly in old people in December and even November.”
“This means that the virus was circulating, at least in (the northern region of) Lombardy and before we were aware of this outbreak occurring in China.”
Remuzzi’s comments means it is possible Italy had been ground zero of the virus. His comments come as scientists continue scrambling to find the origin of the virus. Chinese pulmonary disease expert Zhong Nanshan said earlier this week that although China was the first country to report the appearance of the virus, it was uncertain where it actually came from.
Italy reported 6,557 new cases of the virus on Saturday, raising the total to 53,578 since the virus first broke out in northern Italy on Feb. 21, according to the latest data given by the Civil Protection Department.