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1.
Pathogens ; 11(5)2022 May 23.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1917667

ABSTRACT

Awareness of the importance of the microbial contamination of air and surfaces has increased significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of this study was to evaluate the presence of bacteria and fungi in the air and on surfaces within some critical areas of large supermarkets with and without an ozonation system. Surveys were conducted in four supermarkets belonging to the same commercial chain of an Apulian city in June 2021, of which two (A and B) were equipped with an ozonation system, and two (C and D) did not have any air-diffused remediation treatment. There was a statistically significant difference in the total bacterial count (TBC) and total fungal count (TFC) in the air between A/B and C/D supermarkets (p = 0.0042 and p = 0.0002, respectively). Regarding surfaces, a statistically significant difference in TBC emerged between A/B and C/D supermarkets (p = 0.0101). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study evaluating the effect of ozone on commercial structures in Italy. Future investigations, supported by a multidisciplinary approach, will make it possible to deepen the knowledge on this method of sanitation, in light of any other epidemic/pandemic waves.

2.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(12)2022 06 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1884188

ABSTRACT

Aspergillosis is a disease caused by Aspergillus, and invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) is the most common invasive fungal infection leading to death in severely immuno-compromised patients. The literature reports Aspergillus co-infections in patients with COVID-19 (CAPA). Diagnosing CAPA clinically is complex since the symptoms are non-specific, and performing a bronchoscopy is difficult. Generally, the microbiological diagnosis of aspergillosis is based on cultural methods and on searching for the circulating antigens galactomannan and 1,3-ß-D-glucan in the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (bGM) or serum (sGM). In this study, to verify whether the COVID-19 period has stimulated clinicians to pay greater attention to IPA in patients with respiratory tract infections, we evaluated the number of requests for GM-Ag research and the number of positive tests found during the pre-COVID-19 and COVID-19 periods. Our data show a significant upward trend in GM-Ag requests and positivity from the pre-COVID to COVID period, which is attributable in particular to the increase in IPA risk factors as a complication of COVID-19. In the COVID period, parallel to the increase in requests, the number of positive tests for GM-Ag also increased, going from 2.5% in the first period of 2020 to 12.3% in the first period of 2021.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis , Pulmonary Aspergillosis , Aspergillus , Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis/complications , Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis/diagnosis , Invasive Pulmonary Aspergillosis/epidemiology , Pulmonary Aspergillosis/complications , Pulmonary Aspergillosis/diagnosis , Pulmonary Aspergillosis/epidemiology , Sensitivity and Specificity
3.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(8)2022 04 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1809883

ABSTRACT

Healthcare-related infections are sustained by various bacteria and fungi. In recent years, various technologies have emerged for the sanitation of healthcare-related environments. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a no-touch disinfection system that aerosolizes 5% hydrogen peroxide and 10% ethyl alcohol. After selecting an environment, the Total Bacterial Count and the Total Fungal Count in the air and on a surface of the room were determined to evaluate the effectiveness of the aerosolization system. In addition, sterile stainless-steel plates inoculated with S. aureus, P. aeruginosa, and Aspergillus spp. isolated from hospitalized patients and reference strains were used to evaluate the effectiveness of the system. For each organism, three plates were used: A (cleaned), B (not cleaned), and C (control). The A plates were treated with non-ionic surfactant and the aerosolization system, the B plates were subjected to the aerosolization system, and the plates C were positioned outside the room that was sanitized. Following sanitization, air and surface sampling was conducted, after which, swabs were processed for bacterial and fungal enumeration. The results showed that the air sanitization system had good efficacy for both bacteria and fungi in the air and on stainless-steel plates, particularly for the A plates.


Subject(s)
Disinfectants , Disinfection , Aerosols , Bacteria , Delivery of Health Care , Disinfection/methods , Ethanol , Humans , Hydrogen Peroxide , Pseudomonas aeruginosa , Stainless Steel , Staphylococcus aureus
4.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 10(3)2022 Mar 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742742

ABSTRACT

To deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, a mass vaccination campaign was started in European countries on 27 December 2020. The first vaccine available to immunize healthcare workers (HCWs) was the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine. While many studies have shown a high antibody response after the second vaccine dose, antibody persistence over the medium-to-long term has yet to be evaluated. The medium-to-long-term persistence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was determined in a sample of fully vaccinated HCWs at Bari Policlinico General Hospital, Italy. This is a observational cohort study. HCWs who completed the immunization basal cycle were screened for anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgG on days 15, 30, 60, 90, and 120 after the second vaccine dose. At each time point, >99% of the screened HCWs were seroprotected. While the geometric mean titer initially declined over time, by 60 days the titer had stabilized. Older subjects seem to lose IgG faster than younger ones. The immunogenicity conferred by the vaccine provides further evidence that it is an essential weapon in efforts to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control. Accordingly, strict measures should be implemented, ranging from the mandatory vaccination of HCWs to strong incentives aimed at achieving vaccination of the large majority of the overall population.

5.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 10(2)2022 Feb 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1674868

ABSTRACT

Public health workers (PHWs) have experienced substantial workload changes because of their role in managing measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. The study's aim was to assess lifestyle changes in Italian PHWs during the pandemic. PHWs attending an annual meeting completed an anonymous questionnaire assessing their sociodemographic and behavioral characteristics and lifestyle changes during the pandemic. A total of 1000 questionnaires were completed. Most participants (63.5% women, mean age 40 ± 13.1 years) were of normal weight (61.5%), non-smokers (81.9%), had a total screen time of ≥5 h/day (83.1%), and slept at least 6 h/night (88.7%). Approximately one-third consumed sweet foods every day (30%) and did not engage in physical activity (34.6%). Current sweet food consumption, physical activity, and sleep were associated with changes in these behaviors in the last 2 years (Tau-b = 0.155; Tau-b = -0.175; Tau-b = -0.276, respectively, p < 0.001). An increase in remote working was associated with worse sleep (odds ratio (OR) 2.065, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.482-2.877) and diet (OR 1.982, 95% CI 1.385-2.838), and increased tablet/PC use (OR 3.314, 95% CI 2.358-4.656). Health promotion measures are needed to support the adoption of healthy lifestyles in this population during the current pandemic.

6.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(21)2021 Oct 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488585

ABSTRACT

Although direct contact is considered the main mode of transmission of SARS-CoV-2, environmental factors play an important role. In this study, we evaluated the presence of SARS-CoV-2 on bus and train surfaces. From the buses, we took samples from the following areas: handrails used to enter or exit the bus, stop request buttons and handles next to the seats. From the trains, the sampled surfaces were handrails used to enter or exit the train, door open/close buttons, handles next to the seats, tables and toilet handles. SARS-CoV-2 was detected on 10.7% of the tested surfaces overall, 19.3% of bus surfaces and 2% of train surfaces (p < 0.0001). On the buses, the most contaminated surfaces were the handles near the seats (12.8%), followed by door open/close buttons (12.5%) and handrails (10.5%). Of the five analyzed transport companies, bus companies were the most contaminated, in particular, companies C (40%) and B (23.3%). A greater number of positive samples were found among those taken at 10:00 a.m. and 10:55 a.m. (45% and 40%, respectively). The presence of the virus on many bus surfaces highlights how the sanitation systems on public transport currently in use are not sufficient to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Humans , Motor Vehicles , Sanitation , Transportation
7.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(11)2021 Oct 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1481045

ABSTRACT

In Italy, at the end of 2020, a voluntary immunization plan against COVID-19 was introduced, involving elderly among the first target categories. The aim of this study was to assess, through an online questionnaire, the acceptance of COVID-19 vaccination in a sample of older adults from southern Italy. Of a total of 1041 respondents (41.7% males, mean age 76.6 ± 6.5), 965 (92.7%) were vaccinated or willing to be vaccinated against COVID-19, although less than half of the sample was favorable to vaccinations and agreed with mandatory immunization. Acceptance of COVID-19 vaccination was found to be positively related with higher educational level (OR = 1.875, CI95% = 1.113-3.161; p = 0.018) and having social/mass media as a main source of information (OR = 2.415 CI95% = 1.358-4.296, p = 0.003). On the contrary, an inverse relationship was found between acceptance of COVID-19 vaccination and having fulfilled the questionnaire after the introduction of green pass (OR = 0.218, CI95% = 0.129-0.369; p < 0.001). Therefore, although this evidence needs to be further confirmed, it is possible to agree with previous studies reporting that compulsory measures, such as green pass implementation, must be accompanied by effective education and information strategies of the target population.

8.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(20)2021 10 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1470859

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Control measures adopted during the COVID-19 pandemic had a considerable impact on human daily life and lifestyles. Adherence to the recommended measures is influenced by knowledge and attitudes towards the disease. This cross-sectional study aimed to assess the level of knowledge regarding COVID-19, the related control measures, and lifestyle behaviors adopted during the pandemic in a sample of elderly Italian people. METHODS: A web-based questionnaire investigating socio-demographic characteristics, knowledge of COVID-19, the related preventive measures, and lifestyle changes that occurred during the pandemic, were distributed to ≥65 years old people living in South Italy. RESULTS: A satisfactory level of knowledge about COVID-19 and the related control measures has been found in the enrolled sample. However, a decrease in physical activity, as well as worsening sleeping and dietary habits, were found in roughly 60% of participants. Females were impacted greater by these lifestyle changes. CONCLUSIONS: Participants in this study showed a good level of knowledge regarding COVID-19 and its prevention. Nevertheless, they reported an increase in unhealthy habits that may have important health consequences in the long term and should be addressed by public health interventions targeted at older people.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Aged , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Life Style , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires
9.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(10)2021 10 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1463852

ABSTRACT

To combat the COVID-19 pandemic, a mass vaccination campaign was initiated in Italy on 27 December 2020. The vaccine available to immunize Italian healthcare workers (HCWs) was the BNT162b2 mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty). This study evaluated the effectiveness of the vaccine against documented SARS-CoV-2 infection and symptomatic diseases in the medium- to long-term. HCWs at Bari Policlinico University-Hospital (Italy) who completed the vaccination schedule were matched with HCWs who had refused vaccination; the two groups were followed-up for 5 months (January-May 2021). Vaccine effectiveness (VE) against infection was 97.7% (95.4-99.0%) at 14-34 days after the first dose, and 94.8% (87.0-97.8%), 83.0% (65.0-92.0%), and 81.0% (42.0-94.0%) at 14-41, 42-69, and >69 days, respectively, after the second dose. The estimated VE for documented symptomatic disease was 99.2% (96.4-99.8%) at 14-34 days after the first dose and 97.2% (90.3-99.2%), 85.0% (63.0-94.2%), and 88.0% (42.0-97.6%) at 14-41, 42-69, and >69 days, respectively, after the second dose. Efforts to increase vaccination rates should be strengthened, including mandatory vaccination for HCWs and greater incentives to increase vaccine acceptance by the general population.

10.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(19)2021 Sep 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1444203

ABSTRACT

As a complement to clinical disease surveillance, the monitoring of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in wastewater can be used as an early warning system for impending epidemics. This study investigated the dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 in untreated wastewater with respect to the trend of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) prevalence in Southern Italy. A total of 210 wastewater samples were collected between May and November 2020 from 15 Apulian wastewater treatment plants (WWTP). The samples were concentrated in accordance with the standard of World Health Organization (WHO, Geneva, Switzerland) procedure for Poliovirus sewage surveillance, and molecular analysis was undertaken with real-time reverse-transcription quantitative PCR (RT-(q) PCR). Viral ribonucleic acid (RNA) was found in 12.4% (26/210) of the samples. The virus concentration in the positive samples ranged from 8.8 × 102 to 6.5 × 104 genome copies/L. The receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve modeling showed that at least 11 cases/100,000 inhabitants would occur after a wastewater sample was found to be positive for SARS-CoV-2 (sensitivity = 80%, specificity = 80.9%). To our knowledge, this is the first study in Italy that has applied wastewater-based epidemiology to predict COVID-19 prevalence. Further studies regarding methods that include all variables (meteorological phenomena, characteristics of the WWTP, etc.) affecting this type of wastewater surveillance data would be useful to improve data interpretation.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Sewage , Waste Water
11.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(17)2021 09 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1390650

ABSTRACT

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in March 2020 in Italy, leading to the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) that continues to cause high global morbidity and mortality in human populations. Numerous studies have focused on the spread and persistence of the virus in the hospital setting. New scientific evidence shows that SARS-CoV-2 is present in different community environments. Although aerosol is one of the main routes of transmission for SARS-CoV-2, indirect contact through virus-contaminated surfaces could also play a key role. The survival and persistence of SARS-CoV-2 on surfaces appear to be influenced by the characteristics of the material, temperature, and humidity. In this study, we investigated the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA on surfaces in 20 supermarkets throughout the Apulia region during the lockdown period. We collected a total of 300 swab samples from various surfaces including supermarket scales, trolley handles, refrigerator and freezer handles, and keyboards. In total, 13 (4.3%) surfaces were positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA contamination, with shopping trolley handles being the most frequently contaminated. This study showed that contamination in public spaces can occur, so we remark the importance to adopt adequate preventive measures, including environment ventilation, careful surfaces sanitation, hand hygiene, and correct usage of masks, to reduce the likelihood of virus transmission.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Communicable Disease Control , Humans , RNA, Viral , Supermarkets
12.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(6)2021 03 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1143510

ABSTRACT

A Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), caused by a new virus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), spreads via direct contact through droplets produced by infected individuals. The transmission of this virus can also occur via indirect contact if objects and surfaces are contaminated by secretions from individuals with COVID-19 or asymptomatic carriers. Environmental contamination with SARS-CoV-2 is high in hospital settings; on the contrary, surface contamination in non-healthcare settings is still poorly studied. In this study, the presence of SARS-CoV-2 on the surfaces of 20 tourist-recreational facilities was investigated by performing a total of 100 swabs on surfaces, including refrigerator handles, handrails, counters, tables, and bathroom access doors. Six (6%) swabs from four (20%) tourist-recreational facilities tested positive for SARS-CoV-2; the surfaces that were involved were toilet door handles, refrigerator handles, handrails, and bar counters. This study highlights that SARS-CoV-2 is also present in non-healthcare environments; therefore, in order to limit this worrying pandemic, compliance with behavioral rules and the adoption of preventive and protective measures are of fundamental importance not only in healthcare or work environments but also in life environments.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
13.
Environ Res ; 191: 110231, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-785565

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic started in China in early December 2019, and quickly spread around the world. The epidemic gradually started in Italy at the end of February 2020, and by May 31, 2020, 232,664 cases and 33,340 deaths were confirmed. As a result of this pandemic, the Italian Ministerial Decree issued on March 11, 2020, enforced lockdown; therefore, many social, recreational, and cultural centers remained closed for months. In Apulia (southern Italy), all non-urgent hospital activities were suspended, and some wards were closed, with a consequent reduction in the use of the water network and the formation of stagnant water. This situation could enhance the risk of exposure of people to waterborne diseases, including legionellosis. The purpose of this study was to monitor the microbiological quality of the water network (coliforms, E. coli, Enterococci, P. aeruginosa, and Legionella) in three wards (A, B and C) of a large COVID-19 regional hospital, closed for three months due to the COVID-19 emergency. Our study revealed that all three wards' water network showed higher contamination by Legionella pneumophila sg 1 and sg 6 at T1 (after lockdown) compared to the period before the lockdown (T0). In particular, ward A at T1 showed a median value = 5600 CFU/L (range 0-91,000 CFU/L) vs T0, median value = 75 CFU/L (range 0-5000 CFU/L) (p-value = 0.014); ward B at T1 showed a median value = 200 CFU/L (range 0-4200 CFU/L) vs T0, median value = 0 CFU/L (range 0-300 CFU/L) (p-value = 0.016) and ward C at T1 showed a median value = 175 CFU/L (range 0-22,000 CFU/L) vs T0, median value = 0 CFU/L (range 0-340 CFU/L) (p-value < 0.001). In addition, a statistically significant difference was detected in ward B between the number of positive water samples at T0 vs T1 for L. pneumophila sg 1 and sg 6 (24% vs 80% p-value < 0.001) and for coliforms (0% vs 64% p-value < 0.001). Moreover, a median value of coliform load resulted 3 CFU/100 ml (range 0-14 CFU/100 ml) at T1, showing a statistically significant increase versus T0 (0 CFU/100 ml) (p-value < 0.001). Our results highlight the need to implement a water safety plan that includes staff training and a more rigorous environmental microbiological surveillance in all hospitals before occupying a closed ward for a longer than one week, according to national and international guidelines.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections , Legionella pneumophila , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , China/epidemiology , Escherichia coli , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , SARS-CoV-2 , Water , Water Microbiology , Water Supply
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