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1.
BMC Infect Dis ; 22(1): 77, 2022 Jan 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1643115

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: From the initial stages of the pandemic in early 2020, COVID-19-related olfactory and gustatory dysfunctions have been widely reported and are emerging as one of the most frequent long-term sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, data regarding the long-term recovery of the sense of smell and taste are lacking. This study aimed to characterize the evolution up to one year after the diagnosis of self-reported olfactory and gustatory dysfunctions in COVID-19 cases. METHODS: Based on the data of the active surveillance platform of the Apulia region, Italy, we selected the residents of Foggia district who were confirmed positive for SARS-CoV-2 from March 1st to June 16th, 2020, and home-quarantined with paucisymptomatic-to-mild clinical presentation. Self-reported olfactory and gustatory dysfunctions were recorded at baseline through a survey of dichotomous questions. The evolution of these symptoms at approximately one year was prospectively assessed via telephone by the validated sino-nasal outcome test 22 (SNOT-22, Italian version). RESULTS: Among the 1,175 COVID-19 cases notified in the Foggia district during the first epidemic wave, 488 had paucisymptomatic-to-mild clinical presentation. Of these, 41.2% (n = 201, 95% confidence interval [CI] 36.8-45.7%) reported at least one sensory dysfunction. A total of 178 to 201 (88.5%) patients agreed to participate in the follow-up survey. According to the SNOT-22 results, the persistence of a sensory dysfunction was observed in the 29.8% (n = 53, 95% CI 23.2-37.1%) of them. Particularly, loss of smell persisted in 25.8% (n = 46, 95% CI 19.6-32.9%), loss of taste in 21.3% (n = 38, 95% CI 15.6-28.1%), loss of both in 17.4% (n = 31, 95% CI 12.2-23.8%) of participants in the follow-up. The rates of full recovery increased over time: from 59% at 30 days to 71.9% at 90 days for the sense of smell; from 61.3% at 30 days to 74.7% at 90 days for the sense of taste. CONCLUSIONS: The persistence of COVID-19-related olfactory and gustatory dysfunctions up to 12 months after the disease onset in a noteworthy proportion (approximately 3 out of 10) of patients with paucisymptomatic-to-mild clinical presentation deserves further investigations due to its possible pathophysiological implications and impact on the quality of life.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Olfaction Disorders , Follow-Up Studies , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Olfaction Disorders/diagnosis , Olfaction Disorders/epidemiology , Olfaction Disorders/etiology , Quality of Life , SARS-CoV-2 , Self Report , Smell
3.
J Med Virol ; 93(3): 1739-1742, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1206811

ABSTRACT

Here we present results from a survey on anti-severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) seroprevalence in healthy blood donors from a low incidence coronavirus disease 2019 area (Apulia region, South Eastern Italy). Among 904 subjects tested, only in nine cases (0.99%) antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 were demonstrated. All the nine seropositive patients were negative for the research of viral RNA by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction in nasopharyngeal swabs. These data, along with those recently reported from other countries, clearly show that we are very far from herd immunity and that the containment measures are at the moment the only realistic instrument we have to slow the spread of the pandemic.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/immunology , Immunity, Herd/immunology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Antibodies, Viral/immunology , Blood Donors , Female , Humans , Italy , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics/prevention & control , RNA, Viral/immunology , Young Adult
4.
Acta Haematol ; 144(5): 580-584, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1194384

ABSTRACT

Recently, a significant cluster of pneumonia caused by a novel betacoronavirus (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, SARS-CoV-2) was described initially in China and then spread throughout the world. Like other coronaviridae, the viral transmission occurs mainly through droplets. In addition, the virus has been detected in different clinical specimens, suggesting a potential transmission by other routes, including blood transfusion. However, the potential risk of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 via blood products is still unclear. The aim of our study was to investigate the prevalence of antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 among blood donors from South-Eastern Italy. Moreover, in the seropositive donors, we searched for the presence of the virus in nasopharyngeal swabs and in plasma samples. Overall, 1,797 blood donors from the Apulia region were tested for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies, using a commercially available assay. Only 18/1,797 donors (1.0%) tested positive for anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies; in none of them SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA was detected in nasopharyngeal swabs and in plasma samples. Our results indicate that most of the blood donors in Apulia remained uninfected during this wave of the pandemic; further, none had detectable virus both in nasopharyngeal swabs and in blood samples. The risk to carry and transmit the virus by healthy and asymptomatic blood donors is probably very low.


Subject(s)
Antibodies, Viral/blood , Blood Donors , COVID-19/pathology , SARS-CoV-2/immunology , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , COVID-19/virology , Female , Humans , Italy , Male , Middle Aged , Nasopharynx/virology , RNA, Viral/analysis , RNA, Viral/metabolism , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Load , Young Adult
5.
Int J Infect Dis ; 104: 696-700, 2021 Mar.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1062391

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic has heavily impacted Italy. The government's restriction measures have attenuated the burden on hospitals. The association of high viral replication with disease severity suggests the potential for lower viral load in milder clinical presentations. METHODS: The reverse-transcription-polymerase-chain-reaction (RT-PCR) profile of 944 consecutive, non-replicate, positive retropharyngeal swabs was collected from 3 March to 8 June 2020 to investigate the temporal profile of SARS-CoV-2 viral load in the region of Capitanata, Apulia. Cycle threshold (Ct) values of 3 targets (N [nucleocapsid protein], E [envelope protein] and RdRP [RNA-dependent RNA-polymerase]) were analysed. RESULTS: The median Ct values of the 3 targets increased considerably over the study period, showing a progressive and constant weekly change. The negative detection rate of E and RdRP increased over time. These data suggest that SARS-CoV-2 viral load progressively decreased along the outbreak course. During the first epidemic peak (March and April) the viral load among patients >80-years was significantly higher than for younger subjects. However, in May this age-dependent difference disappeared, underlying viral load reduction in the elderly. CONCLUSIONS: An attenuation of viral transmission or pathogenicity during the epidemic course is suggested, likely due to restriction measures, although viral factors might also be considered.


Subject(s)
COVID-19/virology , Nasopharynx/virology , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , Viral Load , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Child, Preschool , Female , Humans , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Young Adult
6.
J Clin Med ; 10(2)2021 Jan 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1031141

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The highly variable manifestation of the COVID-19 disease, from completely asymptomatic to fatal, is both a clinical and a public health issue. The criteria for discharge of hospitalized patients have been based so far on the negative result of Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests, but the persistence of viral fragments may exceed that of the integral virus by weeks. The aim of our study was to verify the clearance of the virus at viral culture in patients hospitalized for COVID-19 that have clinically recovered but are still positive on nasopharyngeal swab. METHODS: The study was conducted in hospitalized patients with positive RT-PCR on nasopharyngeal swab. Patients included were from asymptomatic to severe cases and performed nasopharyngeal control swabbing on day 14 for asymptomatic patient or at least three days after remission of symptoms. RT-PCR positive specimens were sent to a biosafety level 3 laboratory for viral culture. RESULTS: We performed a combined analysis of RT-PCR and a highly sensitive in vitro culture from 84 samples of hospitalized patients. The average age was 46 ± 20.29, and 40.5% of the subjects had radiologically confirmed pneumonia, with average PaO2 of 72.35 ± 12.12and P/F ratio of 315 ± 83.15. Ct values for the N gene were lower in the first swab than in the control one (p < 0.001). The samples from 83 patients were negative at viral culture, and RT-PCR on the respective supernatants always confirmed the absence of viral growth. CONCLUSIONS: Our preliminary results demonstrate that patients clinically recovered for at least three days show the viral clearance at viral culture, and presumably they continued to not be contagious.

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