A quantitative #comparison of #WNV #incidence from 2013 to 2018 in Emilia-Romagna, #Italy (PLOS Negl Trop Dis., abstract)

[Source: PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]


A quantitative comparison of West Nile virus incidence from 2013 to 2018 in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Giovanni Marini , Mattia Calzolari, Paola Angelini, Romeo Bellini, Silvia Bellini, Luca Bolzoni, Deborah Torri, Francesco Defilippo, Ilaria Dorigatti, Birgit Nikolay, Andrea Pugliese, Roberto Rosà, Marco Tamba


Published: January 2, 2020 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007953




West Nile virus (WNV) transmission was much greater in 2018 than in previous seasons in Europe. Focusing on Emilia-Romagna region (northern Italy), we analyzed detailed entomological and epidemiological data collected in 2013–2018 to quantitatively assess environmental drivers of transmission and explore hypotheses to better understand why the 2018 epidemiological season was substantially different than the previous seasons. In particular, in 2018 WNV was detected at least two weeks before the observed circulation in 2013–2017 and in a larger number of mosquito pools. Transmission resulted in 100 neuroinvasive human cases in the region, more than the total number of cases recorded between 2013 and 2017.


We used temperature-driven mathematical models calibrated through a Bayesian approach to simulate mosquito population dynamics and WNV infection rates in the avian population. We then estimated the human transmission risk as the probability, for a person living in the study area, of being bitten by an infectious mosquito in a given week. Finally, we translated such risk into reported WNV human infections.

Principal findings

The estimated prevalence of WNV in the mosquito and avian populations were significantly higher in 2018 with respect to 2013–2017 seasons, especially in the eastern part of the region. Furthermore, peak avian prevalence was estimated to have occurred earlier, corresponding to a steeper decline towards the end of summer. The high mosquito prevalence resulted in a much greater predicted risk for human transmission in 2018, which was estimated to be up to eight times higher than previous seasons. We hypothesized, on the basis of our modelling results, that such greater WNV circulation might be partially explained by exceptionally high spring temperatures, which have likely helped to amplify WNV transmission at the beginning of the 2018 season.


Author summary

West Nile virus (WNV) is one of the most recent emerging mosquito-borne diseases in Europe and North America. While most human infections are asymptomatic, about 1% of them can result in severe neurological diseases which might be fatal. WNV transmission was unusually greater in 2018 than in previous years in many European countries, resulting in a large number of human infections. Focusing on Emilia-Romagna region (Italy), we developed an epidemiological model informed by entomological data; through that we found that exceptionally high spring temperatures might have contributed at amplifying WNV transmission at the beginning of the season, causing greater WNV prevalence in mosquito and avian populations during the summer, which resulted in a higher estimated risk for human transmission. Thus, weather anomalies at the beginning of the mosquito breeding season, which are likely to become more common under the projected scenarios of climate change, might act as an early warning signal for public health authorities, enabling them to design efficient surveillance and prevention strategies.


Citation: Marini G, Calzolari M, Angelini P, Bellini R, Bellini S, Bolzoni L, et al. (2020) A quantitative comparison of West Nile virus incidence from 2013 to 2018 in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 14(1): e0007953. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0007953

Editor: Waleed Saleh Al-Salem, Saudi Ministry of Health, SAUDI ARABIA

Received: July 10, 2019; Accepted: November 20, 2019; Published: January 2, 2020

Copyright: © 2020 Marini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: All relevant data are within the manuscript and its Supporting Information files.

Funding: Data used in this study was collected in the frame of “Regional Surveillance of Arboviral Diseases” financed by the Emilia-Romagna Region. I.D. acknowledges research funding from the Imperial College Junior Research Fellowship and joint Centre funding from the UK Medical Research Council and Department for International Development. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Keywords: WNV; Wild Birds; Mosquitoes; Global Warming; Italy.


Full-Length #Genome #Sequence of a #Dengue serotype 1 virus isolate from a #traveller returning from #DRC to #Italy, July 2019 (Int J Infect Dis., abstract)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Int J Infect Dis. 2019 Dec 19. pii: S1201-9712(19)30496-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ijid.2019.12.023. [Epub ahead of print]

Full-Length Genome Sequence of a Dengue serotype 1 virus isolate from a traveller returning from Democratic Republic of Congo to Italy, July 2019.

Colavita F1, Vairo F2, Carletti F1, Boccardo C3, Ferraro F1, Iaiani G4, Al Moghazi S1, Galardo G3, Lalle E1, Selvaggi C1, Scognamiglio P1, Capobianchi MR1, Ippolito G1, Castilletti C1.

Author information: 1 National Institute for Infectious Diseases ‘Lazzaro Spallanzani’ IRCCS, 00149 Rome, Italy. 2 National Institute for Infectious Diseases ‘Lazzaro Spallanzani’ IRCCS, 00149 Rome, Italy. Electronic address: francesco.vairo@inmi.it. 3 Dipartimento di Emergenza e Accettazione, Policlinico Umberto 1, Rome, Italy. 4 Dipartimento di Malattie Infettive e Tropicali, Policlinico Umberto 1, Rome, Italy.



We report the full-genome sequence of a Dengue serotype-1 virus (DENV-1) isolated from a traveller returning in July 2019 to Italy from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which is currently affected by Ebola and measles outbreaks. The sequence shows high similarity with two 2013 strains isolated in Angola and China.

Copyright © 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

KEYWORDS: Democratic Republic of Congo; Dengue virus; Full-genome sequence; Travel-associated infection

PMID: 31866548 DOI: 10.1016/j.ijid.2019.12.023

Keywords: Dengue fever; DRC; Italy.


Detection of #influenza A #H1N1pdm09 virus in a #patient travelling from #Shanghai to #Italy in July 2018: an #uncommon clinical presentation in a non-seasonal period (J Prev Med Hyg., abstract)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

J Prev Med Hyg. 2019 Mar 29;60(1):E1-E4. doi: 10.15167/2421-4248/jpmh2019.60.1.1214. eCollection 2019 Mar.

Detection of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus in a patient travelling from Shanghai to Italy in July 2018: an uncommon clinical presentation in a non-seasonal period.

Butera F1, Schenone S1, Grammatico F1, Tisa V1, Barisione G1, Guarona G1, Bruzzone B2, Murdaca G3, Setti M3, Orsi A1,2.

Author information: 1 Department of Health Sciences, University of Genoa, Italy. 2 Hygiene Unit, Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Genoa, Italy. 3 Clinical Immunology Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Genoa and Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Genoa, Italy.



Influenza is one of the most common infectious diseases in travellers, especially in those returning from subtropical and tropical regions. In late June 2018 an influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 virus infection was diagnosed in a 36-years-old man, returned from a travel in Shanghai and hospitalized at the Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Genoa, Italy, with a diagnosis of fever and an uncommon clinical presentation characterised by a persistent leukopenia. Phylogenetic analysis revealed a closeness with influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 strains circulating in the US in May-June 2018. Prompt recognition of influenza infection led to a proper case management, demonstrating the crucial role of the continuous influenza surveillance programme.

KEYWORDS: Influenza; Leukopenia; Surveillance; Travellers’ infectious disease

PMID: 31041403 PMCID: PMC6477558 DOI: 10.15167/2421-4248/jpmh2019.60.1.1214 [Indexed for MEDLINE]  Free PMC Article

Keywords: Seasonal Influenza; H1N1pdm09; Italy; China.


#Blood #screening for heavy #metals and organic #pollutants in #cancer #patients exposed to #toxic #waste in southern #Italy: A pilot study (J Cell Physiol., abstract)

[Source: Journal of Cellular Physiology, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Blood screening for heavy metals and organic pollutants in cancer patients exposed to toxic waste in southern Italy: A pilot study

Iris Maria Forte,  Paola Indovina,  Aurora Costa,  Carmelina Antonella Iannuzzi,  Luigi Costanzo,  Antonio Marfella,  Serena Montagnaro,  Gerardo Botti,  Enrico Bucci,  Antonio Giordano

First published: 15 December 2019 / DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1002/jcp.29399



In Italy, in the eastern area of the Campania region, the illegal dumping and burning of waste have been documented, which could potentially affect the local population’s health. In particular, toxic waste exposure has been suggested to associate with increased cancer development/mortality in these areas, although a causal link has not yet been established. In this pilot study, we evaluated blood levels of toxic heavy metals and persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in 95 patients with different cancer types residing in this area and in 27 healthy individuals. While we did not find any significant correlation between the blood levels of POPs and the provenance of the patients, we did observe high blood concentrations of heavy metals in some municipalities, including Giugliano, where many illegal waste disposal sites have previously been documented. Our results showed that patients with different cancer types from Giugliano had higher blood levels of heavy metals than healthy controls. Despite the obvious limitations of this exploratory study, our preliminary observations encourage further research assessing the possible association between exposure to hazardous waste, increased blood metals, and increased risk of cancer.


Open Research

DATA AVAILABILITY STATEMENT: The data sets used and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding authors on reasonable request.

Keywords: Toxic chemicals; Environmental pollution; Environmental disasters; Italy; Cancer.


#PCB levels in #adipose tissue of #dogs from illegal #dumping sites in #Campania region (Italy) (Chemosphere, abstract)

[Source: Chemosphere, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Chemosphere / Volume 244, April 2020, 125478

PCB levels in adipose tissue of dogs from illegal dumping sites in Campania region (Italy)

Maria Carmela Ferrante b1, Paola Di Vaio a1, Elisa Magli a, Francesco Frecentese a, Rosaria Meli a, Giuseppe Caliendo a, Angela Corvino a, Ferdinando Fiorino a, Flavia Giordano a, Anna Monnolo b, Irene Saccone a, Vincenzo Santagada a, Beatrice Severino a, Giacomo Calabria d, Cosimo Manzo c, Elisa Perissutti a

{a} Department of Pharmacy, University of Naples Federico II, Via D. Montesano, 49, 80131, Naples, Italy; {b} Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Production, University of Naples Federico II, Via Delpino, 1, 80137, Naples, Italy; {c} Avantech Group s.r.l, Via Masuccio Salernitano, 28, 84012, Angri (SA), Italy; {d} Veterinary Clinic “Giacomo Calabria VET”, Via S. Francesco D’Assisi, 41, 80034, Marigliano (NA), Italy

Received 1 April 2019, Revised 19 November 2019, Accepted 25 November 2019, Available online 27 November 2019.

Handling Editor: Andreas Sjodin

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.125478



  • PCB concentrations in dog’s adipose tissue from an area with illegal waste dumping.
  • Animals like sentinels for biomonitoring of PCBs.
  • PCB concentrations positively related to cancer disease.



The aim of the study is to investigate the potential relationship between exposure to PCBs and cancer. In doing so we relied on a sample of dogs coming from a peculiar area of the Campania region (Italy), that has been suffering for illegal waste dumping and open air burning of plastic waste for many years. The latter determined the release of organic and inorganic pollutants, such as the PCBs. By comparing dogs with cancer and healthy dogs, we found much higher PCB concentrations in the former, with a significant difference (p < 0.05) for the non-indicator ∑10NDL-PCB and the DL-PCBs. A regression analysis, controlling for three potentially confounding factors, that are sex, age and weight, confirmed the higher ∑10NDL-PCB concentration in dogs with cancer. Hence, our evidence suggests a potential health hazard for animals and likewise people living in a risky area due to the presence of environmental organic pollutants.

Keywords: Sentinel animals – Dogs – Campania region – Polychlorinated biphenyls – Cancer

(1) These two authors equally contributed.

© 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Environmental pollution; Environmental disaster; Cancer; Italy; Dogs.


#Thermotolerant #Campylobacter spp. in #chicken and #bovine #meat in #Italy: Prevalence, level of contamination and molecular characterization of isolates (PLOS One, abstract)

[Source: PLOS One, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]


Thermotolerant Campylobacter spp. in chicken and bovine meat in Italy: Prevalence, level of contamination and molecular characterization of isolates

Elisabetta Di Giannatale, Paolo Calistri, Guido Di Donato , Lucia Decastelli, Elisa Goffredo, Daniela Adriano, Maria Emanuela Mancini, Annamaria Galleggiante, Diana Neri, Salvatore Antoci, Cristina Marfoglia, Francesca Marotta, Roberta Nuvoloni, Giacomo Migliorati


Published: December 6, 2019 / DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0225957



Campylobacter species are common foodborne pathogens associated with cases of human gastroenteritis worldwide. A detailed understanding of the prevalence, contamination levels and molecular characteristics of Campylobacter spp. in cattle and chicken, which are likely the most important sources of human contamination, is imperative. A collection of 1243 poultry meat samples (665 chicken breasts and 578 chicken thighs) and 1203 bovine meat samples (689 hamburgers and 514 knife-cut meat preparations) were collected at retail outlets, in randomly selected supermarkets located in different Italian regions during one year. Of these samples, 17.38% of the poultry meat and 0.58% of the bovine meat samples tested positive for Campylobacter, of which 131 were Campylobacter jejuni (57.96%) and 95 were Campylobacter coli (42.03%). Campylobacter isolates were genotyped with the aim of assessing the genetic diversity, population structure, source distribution and Campylobacter transmission route to humans. All isolates were molecularly characterized by pulse field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and further genotyped using multilocus sequence typing (MLST) and fla-SVR sequencing to gain better insight into the population structure. Antibiotic resistance was also investigate. The highest levels of resistance among chicken strains were observed for ciprofloxacin (88.25%), nalidixic acid (81.45%) and tetracycline (75.6%). PFGE analysis revealed 73 pulsotypes for C. jejuni and 54 pulsotypes for C. coli, demonstrating the existance of different and specific clones circulating in Italy. MLST of C.jejuni isolates mainly clustered in the CC353, CC354, CC21, CC206 and CC443; while C.coli isolates clustered only in CC828. The most common flaA alleles were 287 for C. jejuni and 66 for C. coli. Our study confirms that poultry meat is the main source of Campylobacteriosis, whereas red meat had a low level of contamination suggesting a minor role in transmission. The high presence of Campylobacter in retail chicken meat, paired with its increased resistance to antimicrobials with several multidrug resistance profiles detected, is alarming and represents a persistent threat to public health.


Citation: Di Giannatale E, Calistri P, Di Donato G, Decastelli L, Goffredo E, Adriano D, et al. (2019) Thermotolerant Campylobacter spp. in chicken and bovine meat in Italy: Prevalence, level of contamination and molecular characterization of isolates. PLoS ONE 14(12): e0225957. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0225957

Editor: Anderson de Souza Sant’Ana, University of Campinas, BRAZIL

Received: July 26, 2019; Accepted: November 16, 2019; Published: December 6, 2019

Copyright: © 2019 Di Giannatale et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Data Availability: All relevant data are within the manuscript and its Supporting Information files.

Funding: This work was supported by the Italian Ministry of Health [grant numbers: MSRCTE0115]. The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

Keywords: Antibiotics; Drugs Resistance; Campylobacter spp.; Food Safety; Poultry; Cattle; Italy.


Spatiotemporal reconstruction and #transmission #dynamics during the 2016-17 #H5N8 highly pathogenic #avian #influenza #epidemic in #Italy (Transbound Emerg Dis., abstract)

[Source: US National Library of Medicine, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Transbound Emerg Dis. 2019 Dec 1. doi: 10.1111/tbed.13420. [Epub ahead of print]

Spatiotemporal reconstruction and transmission dynamics during the 2016-17 H5N8 highly pathogenic avian influenza epidemic in Italy.

Harvey WT1, Mulatti P2, Fusaro A2, Scolamacchia F2, Zecchin B2, Monne I2, Marangon S2.

Author information: 1 Boyd Orr Centre for Population and Ecosystem Health, Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK. 2 Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, Legnaro (Padua), Italy.



Effective control of avian diseases in domestic populations requires understanding of the transmission dynamics facilitating viral emergence and spread. In 2016-17, Italy experienced a significant avian influenza epidemic caused by a highly pathogenic A(H5N8) virus, which affected domestic premises housing around 2.7 million birds, primarily in the north-eastern regions with the highest density of poultry farms (Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna and Veneto). We perform integrated analyses of genetic, spatiotemporal and host data within a Bayesian phylogenetic framework. Using continuous and discrete phylogeography, we estimate the locations of movements responsible for the spread and persistence of the epidemic. The information derived from these analyses on rates of transmission between regions through time can be used to assess the success of control measures. Using an approach based on phylogenetic-temporal distances between domestic cases, we infer the presence of cryptic wild bird-mediated transmission, information that can be used to complement existing epidemiological methods for distinguishing transmission within the domestic population from incursions across the wildlife-domestic interface, a common challenge in veterinary epidemiology. Spatiotemporal reconstruction of the epidemic reveals a highly skewed distribution of virus movements with a high proportion of shorter distance local movements interspersed with occasional long-distance dispersal events associated with wild birds. We also show how such inference be used to identify possible instances of human-mediated movements where distances between phylogenetically linked domestic cases are unusually high.

© 2019 The Authors. Transboundary and Emerging Diseases published by Blackwell Verlag GmbH.

KEYWORDS: H5N8 subtype; avian influenza; infectious disease outbreaks; infectious disease reservoirs; phylogeny; phylogeography

PMID: 31788978 DOI: 10.1111/tbed.13420

Keywords: Avian Influenza; H5N8; Poultry; Wild Birds; Italy.