Evidence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in an Oropharyngeal Swab Specimen, Milan, Italy, Early December 2019

Emerg Infect Dis. 2021 Feb;27(2):648-650. doi: 10.3201/eid2702.204632. Epub 2020 Dec 8.


We identified severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 RNA in an oropharyngeal swab specimen collected from a child with suspected measles in early December 2019, ≈3 months before the first identified coronavirus disease case in Italy. This finding expands our knowledge on timing and mapping of novel coronavirus transmission pathways.

Keywords: COVID-19; Italy; Milan; SARS-CoV-2; SARS-CoV-2 RNA; coronavirus disease; oropharyngeal swab; respiratory infections; severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2; skin manifestations; viruses; zoonoses.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / diagnosis*
  • COVID-19 / virology
  • COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Male
  • Oropharynx / virology
  • RNA, Viral / analysis*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / genetics*
  • Skin Diseases, Infectious / diagnosis*
  • Skin Diseases, Infectious / virology


  • RNA, Viral