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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.
Eur J Intern Med ; 98: 77-82, 2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1739692

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: COVID-19 pandemic has generated a million deaths worldwide. The efficiency of the immune system can modulate individual vulnerability with variable outcomes. However, the relationships between disease severity and the titer of antibodies produced against SARS-CoV-2 in non-vaccinated, recently infected subjects need to be fully elucidated. METHODS: A total of 99 patients admitted to a COVID-unit underwent clinical assessment and measurement of serum levels of anti-spike protein (S1) IgM, and anti-nucleocapsid protein IgG. Patients were stratified according to the clinical outcome (i.e., discharged at home or in-hospital death). RESULTS: Following hospitalization, 18 died during the hospital stay. They were older, had lymphopenia, a higher co-morbidity rate, and longer hospital stay than 81 patients who were discharged after healing. Patients in this latter group had, at hospital admittance, 7.9-fold higher serum concentration of IgM, and 2.4-fold higher IgG levels. Multivariate Cox regression models indicated age and anti-nucleocapsid protein IgG concentration at admission as independently associated with the risk of in-hospital death. CONCLUSIONS: An efficient immunological response during the early phase of COVID-19 protects from mortality, irrespective of age. Advanced age is a critical risk factor for poor outcome in infected subjects. Further studies must explore potential therapeutic strategies able to restore a valid functional humoral immunity in elderly patients with poor antibody response during the early stage of COVID-19 infection.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Aged , Antibodies, Viral , Hospital Mortality , Humans , Immunoglobulin G , Immunoglobulin M , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 17(10)2020 05 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1725621

ABSTRACT

Background: On February 2020, the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) epidemic began in Italy. In order to contain the spread of the virus, the Italian government adopted emergency measures nationwide, including closure of schools and universities, workplaces and subsequently lockdown. This survey was carried out among Italian undergraduates to explore their level of knowledge about the epidemic and the behaviors they adopted during the lockdown. Methods: An electronic questionnaire was administered to the students attending three Italian universities. Results: A good level of knowledge about the epidemic and its control was registered in the sample, mainly among students attending life sciences degree courses. The majority of the students did not modify their diet and smoking habits, while a great part of the sample reported a decrease in physical activity (PA). Conclusions: Students from life sciences courses showed a higher awareness regarding the infection and the control measures. The lockdown caused an important reduction of PA. Preventive interventions should transform the restrictive measures also as an opportunity to improve lifestyle.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Students/psychology , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Health Behavior , Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Surveys and Questionnaires , Universities , Young Adult
6.
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.

7.
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
8.
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.

9.
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
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.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 9(6)2021 Jun 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1264547

ABSTRACT

At the end of 2020, the Italian Ministry of Health launched a national vaccination campaign to counteract the COVID-19 pandemic. The present study aimed at appraising levels of knowledge about and acceptance of COVID-19 vaccination in a sample of Italian undergraduates during the first phase of the immunization plan. A web-based questionnaire was administered to students attending universities in Bari, Naples, and Rome during the period February-April 2021. Of the total of 3226 participants, 91.9% were keen to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. More than 80% gave correct answers to questions about COVID-19 vaccine administration, functioning, and effects on community health. However, only 63.8% identified the correct composition of the available vaccines. Knowledge was found to be related to sociodemographic features and COVID-19 vaccination acceptance (p < 0.05). COVID-19 vaccination acceptance was found to be related to having a previous vaccination against influenza (OR 3.806, CI 95% 1.181-12.267; p = 0.025) and knowledge (OR 4.759, CI 95% 2.106-10.753; p = 0.000). These results show a good level of awareness about COVID-19 vaccination in this population, which may indicate the effectiveness of communication strategies accompanying the COVID-19 immunization campaign in Italy.

13.
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
15.
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
16.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 17(17)2020 08 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-730615

ABSTRACT

Background: From March to May 2020, lockdown measures were adopted in Italy to contain the epidemic of the novel Coronavirus. People were forced to restrict their movement and social contacts, therefore having a higher risk of inactivity. This study, carried out among Italian undergraduates, explored their sedentary and physical activities (PA) during the lockdown with respect to their previous habits. Methods: An electronic questionnaire was administered once to students attending three Italian universities after the end of lockdown. Results: A total of 1430 students (mean age 22.9 ± 3.5 years, 65.5% females) completed the questionnaire. All the sedentary behaviors increased significantly, and all the physical activities decreased significantly during the lockdown. Time spent using electronic devices showed the highest increase (+52.4 min/day), and walking the greatest decrease (-365.5 min/week). Being younger than 22 years old, female, and previously active, attending the universities of Naples and Rome and having at least one graduate parent were associated with the achievement of recommended levels of PA even during the lockdown. Conclusions: This study highlights the reduction of PA among Italian undergraduates in the course of home-confinement due to the CoViD-19 pandemic. The practice of adequate PA during the lockdown was mainly associated with the previous adoption of an active lifestyle. Promoting active lifestyles during the non-pandemic period may have had positive effects also in case of lockdown.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Sedentary Behavior , Adult , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Exercise , Female , Humans , Italy , Male , Pandemics , Rome , SARS-CoV-2 , Students , Universities , Young Adult
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