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By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

Health officials in Italy are reporting an additional 475 deaths due to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 2,978 at of Wednesday. This is only about 150 less than what has been reported in Hubei, China.

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The COVID-19 case total has increased to 35,713 with Lombardy region reporting roughly half the country’s cases (17,713).

Italian officials also say there are 2,257 patients in intensive care and another 14,363 patients hospitalized with symptoms.

In related news, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) reports being aware of reports, especially on social media, which raise questions about whether non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen could worsen coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

They state there is currently no scientific evidence establishing a link between ibuprofen and worsening of COVID‑19. EMA is monitoring the situation closely and will review any new information that becomes available on this issue in the context of the pandemic.

In May 2019, EMA’s safety committee (PRAC) started a review of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines ibuprofen and ketoprofen​​​​​​ following a survey by the French National Agency for Medicines and Health Products Safety (ANSM) which suggested that infection due to chickenpox (varicella) and some bacterial infections could be made worse by these medicines. The product information of many NSAIDs already contains warnings that their anti-inflammatory effects may hide the symptoms of a worsening infection. The PRAC is reviewing all available data to see if any additional measure is required.

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When starting treatment for fever or pain in COVID-19, patients and healthcare professionals should consider all available treatment options including paracetamol and NSAIDs. Each medicine has its own benefits and risks which are reflected in its product information and which should be considered along with EU national treatment guidelines, most of which recommend paracetamol as a first treatment option for fever or pain.