[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
Hepatitis B virus infection (HBV) is widespread and it is considered a major health problem worldwide. The global distribution of HBV varies significantly between countries and between regions of the world. Among the many factors contributing to the changing epidemiology of viral hepatitis, the movement of people within and between countries is a potentially important one. In Italy, the number of migrant individuals has been increasing during the past 25 years. HBV genotype D has been found throughout the world, although its highest prevalence is in the Mediterranean area, the Middle East and southern Asia. We describe the molecular epidemiology of HBV in a chronically infected population of migrants (living in Italy), by using the phylogenetic analysis.
HBV-DNA was amplified and sequenced from 43 HBV chronically infected patients. Phylogenetic and evolutionary analysis were performed using both maximum Likelihood and Bayesian methods.
Results and conclusion:
Of the 43 HBV S gene isolates from migrants, 25 (58.1 %) were classified as D genotype. Maximum Likelihood analysis showed an intermixing between Moldavian and foreigners sequences mostly respect to Italian ones. Italian sequences clustered mostly together in a main clade separately from all others. The estimation of the time of the tree's root gave a mean value of 17 years ago, suggesting the origin of the tree back to 1992 year. The skyline plot showed that the number of infections softly increased until the early 2005s, after which reached a plateau. Comparing phylogenetic data to the migrants date of arrival in Italy, it should be possible that migrants arrived in Italy yet infected from their country of origin. In conclusion, this is the first paper where phylogenetic analysis and genetic evolution has been used to characterize HBV sub genotypes D1 circulation in a selected and homogenous group of migrants coming from a restricted area of Balkans and to approximately define the period of infection besides the migration date.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Screening migrants from areas where hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is endemic is important to implement preventive measures in Europe. The aim of our study was to assess (1) the feasibility of point-of-care screening in a primary care clinic and (2) hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) prevalence, associated risk factors, and its clinical and epidemiological implications in undocumented migrants in Brescia, northern Italy.MethodsA longitudinal prospective study was conducted from January 2006 to April 2010 to assess HBsAg reactivity and associated risk factors among consenting undocumented migrants who accessed the Service of International Medicine of Brescia's Local Health Authority. Genotyping assay was also performed in HBV DNA-positive patients.ResultsScreening was accepted by 3,728/4,078 (91.4%) subjects consecutively observed during the study period, 224 (6%) of whom were found to be HBsAg-positive. HBsAg reactivity was independently associated with the prevalence of HBsAg carriers in the geographical area of provenance (p < 0.001). On the contrary, current or past sexual risk behaviors (despite being common in our sample) were not associated with HBV infection. Half of the HBsAg patients (111/224) had either hepatitis B e-antigen (HBeAg)-positive or -negative chronic HBV infection with a possible indication for treatment. HBV genotypes were identified in 45 of 167 HBV-infected patients as follows: genotype D, 27 subjects; genotype A, 8; genotype B, 5; and genotype C, 5. The geographical distribution of genotypes reflected the geographic provenance.Conclusions
Our results suggest that point-of-care screening is feasible in undocumented migrants and should be targeted according to provenance. Case detection of HBV infection among migrants could potentially reduce HBV incidence in migrants' contacts and in the general population by prompting vaccination of susceptible individuals and care of eligible infected patients.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · Journal of Travel Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background:
During the last H1N1 pandemic has emerged the importance of crisis communication as an essential part of health crisis management. The Project aims specifically to improve the understanding of crisis communication dynamics and effective tools and to allow public health institutions to communicate better with the public during health emergencies.
Design and methods:
THE PROJECT WILL PERFORM DIFFERENT ACTIVITIES: i) state of the art review; ii) identification of key stakeholders; iii) communicational analysis performed using data collected on stakeholder communication activities and their outcomes considering the lessons learnt from the analysis of the reasons for differing public reactions during pandemics; iv) improvement of the existing guidelines; v) development of Web 2.0 tools as web-platform and feed service and implementation of impact assessment algorithms; vi) organization of exercises and training on this issues.
Expected impact of the study for public health:
In the context of health security policies at an EU level, the project aims to find a common and innovative approach to health crisis communication that was displayed by differing reactions to the H1N1 pandemic policies. The focus on new social media tools aims to enhance the role of e-health, and the project aims to use these tools in the specific field of health institutions and citizens. The development of Web 2.0 tools for health crisis communication will allow an effective two-way exchange of information between public health institutions and citizens. An effective communication strategy will increase population compliance with public health recommendations. Significance for public healthThe specific aim of the project is to develop a European strategy approach on how to communicate with the population and with different stakeholders groups involved in the crisis management process, based on an analysis of the communication process during the H1N1 pandemic (content analysis of press releases, press coverage and forum discussions) and on interviews with key stakeholders in health crisis communication. The development of web 2.0 tools, providing rapid responses will allow real-time verification of awareness of social trends and citizens' response. Furthermore, the project would like to offer these resources to the EU Public Health Institutions and EU citizens to improve their interaction, and hence reinforce citizens' right to patient-centred health care. The project proposal has been designed in accordance with the general principles of ethics and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights with regard to human rights, values, freedom, solidarity, and better protection of European citizens.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this population-based study was to assess the incidence rates of infectious diseases in native- (Italian) and foreign-born (immigrants) populations in a North Italy area, in 2006-2010. Crude, age-specific incidence rates (IRs) and age-standardised rate ratios (SRRs) between foreign- and native-born subjects and their 95 % confidence intervals (95 % CI) were estimated. A total of 32,554 cases of infectious diseases were found (9.9 % in foreign-born subjects). The highest SRRs between foreign- and nativeborn subjects were found for tuberculosis (SRR = 27.1; 95 % CI 21.3-34.3), malaria (SRR = 21.1; 14.6-30.4), scabies (SRR = 8.5; 7.6-9.4), AIDS (SRR = 2.5; 1.8-3.4) and viral hepatitis B (SRR = 3.3; 2.1-5.2). The highest IR was found for AIDS in people from the Americas (IR = 4.57; 95 % CI 2.2-8.4), for malaria and tuberculosis in people from Africa (IR = 13.89; 11.6-16.5 and IR = 11.87; 9.8-14.3 respectively). Therefore immigrants are at a higher risk of acquiring some common infectious diseases compared to the native population in Western European countries.
Preview · Article · Aug 2013 · Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: to complete the database of all patients infected by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) who lives in the area belonging to the Local Health Unit (ASL) of Brescia, Northern Italy,with all the cancers diagnosed in the period 1999-2009.
diagnoses of cancer between 1999 and 2009 registered in the electronic database in use in the Clinic of Infectious and Tropical Diseases (source A) for the clinic follow-up of HIV-infected patients were checked. Then, the cases were integrated with the data recorded in the ASL database (source B) and in the Cancer Registry of Brescia (source C).
all HIV-infected patients belonging to the ASL of Brescia followed-up in the Clinic of Infectious and Tropical Diseases of Brescia.
in the database were included all HIV-positive patients who had a diagnosis of cancer between 1999 and 2009. The diagnosis of cancer had to be present at least in two of the three sources considered; if it was recorded only in one of them, the source had to be an histological document or confirmed directly by the patient him/herself.
from the sourceA, 339 diagnoses of cancer were recorded, then other 82 records from the sources B and C were added, achieving a total of 421 cancers, belonging to 391 different patients. Half of the diagnoses was present in all the three sources considered. Among the AIDS-defining cancers (No. 200; 47.5%), Kaposi's sarcoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma were the most frequent diagnosed tumours (22.8% and 22.33%, respectively). Among the non-AIDS-defining cancers (No. 221; 52.5%), malignancies of the skin other than melanoma (No. 41; 9.74%), tumours of the liver (No. 34; 8.08%) and Hodgkin lymphoma (No. 31; 7.36%) were the most frequent tumours.
the database of all HIVpositive patients, including the diagnoses of cancer between 1999 and 2009, represents an important instrument, not only for the clinical practice: collecting clinical and sociodemographics characteristics of these patients, it would be possible to perform clinical and epidemiological studies.
No preview · Article · Jul 2013 · Epidemiologia e prevenzione
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives
To evaluate, through the investigation of an administrative database, the cost of patients affected by diabetes. Our dataset allows to map the progress of the disease so as to evaluate the impact on costs of co-pathologies.
The Local Health Authority (ASL) of Brescia, which covers a population of about 1 million, has linked several databases (administrative, demographic) so that for each resident a profile of cost, detailed for hospitalisation, drugs, specialists visits etc, has been obtained. Such link allows to determine whether patients are affected by one or more of 13 chronic diseases.
We estimated the total cost of the diseases, the costs per patient and the costs of each item (hospitalisation, drugs etc) for 2003. Diabetes accounts for about 12% of the total costs; its cost depends on the number of co-pathologies and can vary from € 892 (only diabetes) to € 5,330 for the most severe cases. The mean age of the diabetic patient is about the same for men and women (62 years), but men develop co-pathologies earlier (about 5 years before). This is especially true for cardiovascular co-morbidities, that represent about 20% of the total expenditure for diabetes.
Administrative and demographic databases can be a very important source for the analysis at local level, whose utility goes far beyond simple expenditure control.
No preview · Article · Jul 2013 · PharmacoEconomics - Italian Research Articles
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Conflicts of interests: the authors declare no potential conflict of interests.
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been found to be associated with diabetes in some, but not all, studies performed so far. The aim of this study was to assess the association between PCB serum levels and glycaemia and diabetes in people living in Brescia, a highly industrialised PCB-polluted town in Northern Italy.
Design and Methods
527 subjects were enrolled in a cross-sectional population-based study: they were interviewed face-to-face in 2003 and also provided a blood sample under fasting conditions. The concentration of 24 PCB congeners was determined using gas-chromatography (GC/MS). Subsequently, all subjects were included in a follow-up (cohort) study. According to the Local Health Authority health-care database, subjects were considered to be diabetic if they had diabetes at interview time (prevalent cases) or during a 7-year follow-up (incident cases).
A total of 53 subjects (10.0%) were diabetics: 28 had diabetes at enrolment and other 25 developed the disease subsequently. Diabetes frequency increased according to the serum concentrations of total PCBs and single PCB congeners, but no association was found when estimates were adjusted for education, body mass index, age and gender by logistic regression analysis. Accordingly, glycaemia increased with PCB serum levels, but no association was observed when multiple regression analysis, including confounding factors, was performed.
This study does not support the hypothesis that PCB environmental exposure is strictly associated with diabetes or glycaemia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives:
The aim of the study was to investigate the incidence of AIDS-defining cancers (ADCs) and virus-related and non-virus-related non-AIDS-defining cancers (NADCs) in HIV-infected patients compared with the general population, and to assess the risk factors associated with these malignancies.
We performed a retrospective cohort study for the period from 1999 to 2009 of HIV-infected patients residing in the Local Health Authority of Brescia (northern Italy). Observed cancers in patients with HIV infection were compared with expected cancers in the population living in the same area using standardized incidence ratios (SIRs). Risk factors were assessed using Poisson regression analysis.
A total of 5090 HIV-infected patients were included in the study, with 32 390 person-years of follow-up. We recorded 416 tumours in 390 HIV-infected patients. Two hundred of these (48.1%) were ADCs, 138 (33.2%) were non-virus-related NADCs and 78 (18.7%) were virus-related NADCs. An increased risk (SIR = 4.2) of cancers overall was found in HIV-infected patients. A large excess of ADCs (SIR = 31.0) and virus-related NADCs (SIR = 12.3) was observed in HIV-infected patients, while the excess risk for non-virus-related NADCs was small (SIR = 1.6). The highest SIRs were observed for Kaposi sarcoma among ADCs and for Hodgkin lymphoma among virus-related NADCs. Conversely, among non-virus-related NADCs, SIRs for a broad range of malignancies were close to unity. In multivariate analysis, increasing age and CD4 cell count < 50 cells/μL were the only factors independently associated with all cancers.
Among HIV-infected people there was an excess of ADCs and also of NADCs, particularly those related to viral infections. Ageing and severe immunodeficiency were the strongest predictors.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IntroductionPostinfectious irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS) may develop in 4–30% of patients following bacterial gastroenteritis (GE), but limited information is available on outcome of viral GE. On summer 2009 a massive community outbreak of Norovirus and Enterovirus GE occurred in San Felice (Lake Garda, Italy) due to contamination of municipal drinking water.1 In order to investigate the natural history of a community outbreak of viral gastroenteritis and to assess the incidence of functional gastrointestinal disorders and PI-IBS, we carried out a prospective population-based cohort study with control group.Methods
Baseline questionnaires were administered to residents within 1 month of the outbreak. Follow-up questionnaires of the Italian version of Gastrointestinal Symptom Rating Scale (GSRS, a 15 item survey scored according to a 7-point Likert scale) were mailed to patients responding to baseline questionnaire at 3 and 6 months and to a cohort of unaffected controls, living in the same area, at 6 months after the outbreak. GSRS item were grouped into five dimensions: abdominal pain, reflux, indigestion, diarrhoea and constipation. At month 12 all patients and controls were interviewed by an health assistant in order to verify Rome III criteria of IBS. T test and χ2 or fisher's exact test were used as appropriate.ResultsBaseline questionnaires were returned by 348 patients: mean age ± SD 45 ± 22 years, 53% female. At outbreak nausea (score ≥4), vomiting and diarrhoea lasting 2–3 days or more were reported by 66%, 60% and 77% of patients, respectively. Fifty per cent reported fever and 19% referred weight loss (mean 3 kg). Follow-up surveys were returned at month 6 by 185 patients and 168 controls: mean of GSRS score for each dimension is reported in the figure. At month 12 we identified 40 patients with a new diagnosis of IBS (Rome III criteria), in comparison with 3 subjects in the control cohort (p
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of the study was to estimate the burden and direct costs of diseases in HIV-infected patients (either opportunistic illnesses or other chronic diseases) with respect to the HIV-uninfected population. These estimates will be useful for the projection of future direct costs of HIV care.
A population-based study was conducted in the Brescia Local Health Agency in northern Italy. An administrative database recorded diagnoses, deaths, drug prescriptions and health resource utilization for all medical and surgical patients in the region from 2003 to 2007. The study estimated the prevalence of HIV infection as well as HIV-related mortality and annual cost per patient, and compared mortality and costs related to HIV infection with those for a set of 15 other chronic diseases. The standardized hazard ratio (SHR) and standardized mortality ratio (SMR) were obtained using an indirect standardization method.
The prevalence of HIV infection increased from 218 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2003 to 263 per 100,000 in 2007. Although mortality rates decreased markedly (from 24 per 1000 HIV-infected patients in 2003 to 16 per 1000 in 2007), the data show that mortality was still higher in HIV-infected patients compared with the general population in the most recent years (SMR 8.8 in 2007). In each year included in the study, HIV-infected patients had higher rates of care-seeking for chronic diseases, including liver diseases (SHR>8), neuropathy, oesophagus-gastro-duodenum diseases, serious psychiatric disorders and renal failure (SHR approximately 3 for each). Also, the rate of medical attendance for neoplasias, chronic pulmonary disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease increased over time in HIV-infected patients compared with the general population. Ranking diseases in order of their total cost to the health system, HIV infection ranked 12th, with total costs of €28.6 million in 2007. Ranking in order of cost per patient, HIV infection ranked third, with a cost per patient of €9894 in 2007. HIV-infected patients with concomitant chronic diseases had higher average costs. The cost per patient in 2007 was €8104 for HIV-infected patients without other chronic diseases, €9908 for HIV infection plus cardiovascular disease, €11,370 for HIV infection plus chronic liver disease and €12,013 for HIV infection plus neoplasias.
The prevalence and population cost of people living with HIV are likely to increase as a result of prolonged survival, aging of HIV-infected patients and increased risk of other chronic diseases. In the near future, HIV infection will rank as one of the most costly chronic diseases. Prevention strategies need to be more widely adopted to control the growing burden of the HIV epidemic and other chronic diseases affecting HIV-infected patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been hypothesized to increase the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), although conclusive evidence is still lacking. High levels of PCBs were found in soil in some areas close to a PCB-producing factory in Brescia, North Italy. We conducted a population-based case-control study among residents of the town to investigate the possible association between PCB pollution and NHL in this area.
We included both incident and deceased NHL cases, and a random sample of the town residents as controls, frequency matched to cases as regards age and gender. Exposure to PCBs was estimated on the basis of the lifetime residential history of cases and controls in four different areas of the town-A, B and C (polluted areas) and D (control area).
A total of 495 cases (287 incident cases) and 1467 controls were enrolled. Positive associations were found between NHL and having resided for at least 10 years in the area A, the most polluted area (odds ratio, OR=1.8; p=0.02) and for having resided in any of the polluted areas considered together (A+B+C) (OR=1.4; p=0.08). However, no associations were evident for having resided 20 years or longer in the polluted areas or when analyzing the association with each subject's main residence in his/her lifetime.
This study provides some evidence for an association between PCB exposure and NHL, though results should be considered with caution in the absence of individual biological measures of exposure.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2011 · Environmental Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Little information is available on the effect of a follow-up strategy in celiac disease patients during gluten-free diet.
To assess 5 year time course of t-transglutaminase antibodies (t-TG) in celiac disease patients enrolled in a community based follow-up program.
Annual t-TG testing and periodical clinic visit in 2245 patients.
Proportion of patients with negative t-TG progressively increased from 83% to 93% during the 5-year follow-up: poor adherence to gluten-free diet (HR 4.764), long duration of gluten-free diet (HR 0.929) and female gender (HR 1.472) were independently associated with serological outcome. In individual patients, 69% tested t-TG "persistently negative", 1% "persistently positive" and 30% "intermittently negative or positive". By applying mathematical modelling to t-TG conversion rates observed in this latter group at beginning and end of the follow-up program, the predicted proportion of t-TG negative population increased from 90% to 95% over 5 years.
Time-course of t-TG serology in the community fluctuates in 1/3 of celiac disease patients suggesting inconstant adherence to gluten-free diet and need of follow-up strategy. Periodical serological and clinical follow-up is a viable and efficacious strategy to promote adherence to gluten-free diet as inferred from time-course of t-TG serology.
No preview · Article · Dec 2010 · Digestive and Liver Disease
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A random sample of 1,495 high school student of 9th and 13th grade in Brescia, North Italy, were interviewed about their alcohol consumption, knowledge and attitudes using an anonymous self-administered questionnaire. The percentages of students who usually consumed alcoholic beverage, were 39.7% and 30.3% in males and females, respectively, in 9th grade students and were 51.4% and 23.8% in males and females, respectively, in 13th grade students. The frequency of drunkenness during the month previous the interview was, among 9th graders: 6.9% males and 8.7% females; among 13th graders: 20.7% males and 13.3% females. The following variables were positively associated with alcohol consumption: 1) regular smoking; 2) peer alcohol drinking (best friend and partner); 3) parents' alcohol consumption. When comparing the present survey with a previously carried out in 1989, similar results were found as regards alcohol consumption; on the contrary higher prevalence of drunkenness was found in the 2008 survey, that in the 1989 one.
No preview · Article · Jan 2010 · Annali di igiene: medicina preventiva e di comunità
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine HIV prevalence and place of exposure for illegal migrants in Italy, we tested 3,003 illegal adult migrants for HIV; 29 (0.97%) were HIV positive. Antibody avidity index results (indicators of time of infection) were available for 27 of those persons and showed that 6 (22.2%) presumably acquired their infection after migration.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2009 · Emerging Infectious Diseases
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The diagnostic attitude of western physicians toward migrants' complaints is often an unstable balance between the obstinate search for exotic tropical diseases and the overappreciation of the cultural dimensions of symptoms. Such attitude may divert attention from organic diseases. The careful assessment of all levels of possible misunderstandings (prelinguistic, linguistic, metalinguistic, cultural, and metacultural) may help the physician to discriminate between illness and disease. The long and difficult itinerary leading to the correct diagnosis of congenital myopathy in a migrant from Senegal is described, together with the barriers encountered by the caring staff.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2009 · Journal of Travel Medicine
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Brescia a PCB production plant polluted soil and forage of the surrounding fields and caused a significant contamination of meat and milk of the cattle fed with local forage. This in turn induced elevated blood levels of PCDDs, PCDFs and PCBs in the consumers. The contamination levels and profiles measured in the perirenal fat, in the liver and in the milk of the overall 28 contaminated bovines are reported. TEQ levels varied from 30 to 81 pg WHO(2005)-TEQ g(-1) (38-103 pg WHO(1997)-TEQ) for perirenal fat, from 107 to 138 pg WHO(2005)-TEQ g(-1) fat (128-168 pg WHO(1997)-TEQ) for liver and from 45 to 50 pg WHO(2005)-TEQg(-1) fat (56-65pg WHO(1997)-TEQ) for milk; all these values are roughly tenfold higher than the European limits. Non-ortho dioxin-like (dl)PCBs are by far the largest contributors to TEQ and PCDF contribution also largely prevail over PCDD's; both these features are also present in both the contaminated forages and in the serum of consumers of contaminated food. The indicator PCB levels are in the following ranges: 226-664 ng g(-1) for perirenal fat; 929-1822 ng g(-1) fat for liver; 183-477 ng g(-1) fat for milk; their level is about 100 times higher than the regional background. The liver samples displayed an overall TEQ several times higher than the perirenal fat from either the same animal or the same pool of animals; the increase in liver concentration was significantly higher for PCDD and PCDF congeners than for dlPCBs, and it was maximum for OCCD.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report an outbreak of viral gastroenteritis linked to municipal drinking water in a town in northern Italy in June 2009. Over one month we identified 299 probable cases of whom 30 were confirmed for at least one of the following viruses: norovirus, rotavirus, enterovirus or astrovirus. Water samples and filters from the water system also tested positive for norovirus and enterovirus. Control measures included treating the water system with chlorine dioxide and filters with peracetic acid, while providing temporary alternative sources of drinking water to the population.
No preview · Article · Feb 2009 · Eurosurveillance: bulletin europeen sur les maladies transmissibles = European communicable disease bulletin