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1.
Sustainability ; 13(24):13887, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1598977

ABSTRACT

In order to meet the environmental needs caused by large plastic waste accumulation, in the road construction sector, an effort is being made to integrate plastic waste with the function of polymer into asphalt mixtures;with the purpose of improving the mechanical performance of the pavement layers. This study focuses on the effect of a recycled mixture of plastic waste on the chemical, thermal, and rheological properties of designed asphalt blends and on the identification of the most suitable composition blend to be proposed for making asphalt mixture through a dry modification method. Thermo-gravimetric analysis, differential scanning calorimetry, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy analysis were carried out to investigate the effect of various concentrations and dimensions of plastic waste (PW) on the neat binder (NB). The frequency sweep test and the multiple stress creep and recovery test were performed to analyze the viscoelastic behavior of the asphalt blends made up of PW in comparison with NB and a commercial modified bitumen (MB). It has been observed that the presence of various types of plastic materials having different melting temperatures does not allow a total melting of PW powder at the mixing temperatures. However, the addition of PW in the asphalt blend significantly improved the aging resistance without affecting the oxidation process of the plastic compound present in the asphalt blend. Furthermore, when the asphalt blend mixed with 20% PW by the weight of bitumen is adopted into the asphalt mixture as polymer, it improves the elasticity and strengthens the mixture better than the mixture containing MB.

2.
Clin Microbiol Infect ; 2021 Dec 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1588052

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Description of a SARS-CoV-2 B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant outbreak among residents (N=69) and Health Workers (HWs: N=69) of a small Nursing Home in Northern-East Italy, with full vaccination coverage of 91 and 82%, respectively. Evaluation of the Anti-Spike IgG titers 28 weeks after the mRNA vaccine boosts against SARS-COV-2 infection and severe Covid-19. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A timely collection of sera within 48h from the index case; anti-Spike IgG determination (expressed as Binding Antibody Units - BAU/mL) through a commercial quantitative assay; SARS-CoV-2 diagnostics via RT-PCR, and full-genome sequencing for lineage characterization. Residents were grouped according to anti-Spike IgG titers (≤50, 51-1000, and > 1000 BAU/mL) and resulting protection against the infection and the severe disease was measured. RESULTS: 0/20 HWs and 14/59 (24%) residents fully vaccinated and without a previous SARS-CoV-2 infection showed anti-Spike IgG ≤50 BAU/mL (1-sided Fisher exact p=0.011). Among these residents, a level of anti-Spike IgG ≤50 BAU/mL resulted in a higher risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection (RR=1.55, CI95% 1.17-2.05) and severe Covid-19 disease (RR=5.33, CI95% 1.83-15.57). CONCLUSION: Low levels of SARS-CoV-2 neutralizing anti-Spike IgG in serum 28 weeks after the administration of the second dose parallels the waning of vaccine protection.

3.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(22)2021 11 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1523998

ABSTRACT

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries adopted various non-pharmacological interventions to contain the number of infections. The most often used policy was school closures. We describe the strategy adopted by the Veneto Regional Authority to contain transmission in school settings. This included a detailed school surveillance system, strict contact tracing, and maintaining school attendance with self-monitoring for symptoms whenever possible. All analyzed COVID-19 cases among children, adolescents (0-19 years old), and school staff were registered using a web-based application between 4 January 2021 and 13 June 2021. During the study period, 6272 episodes of infection in schools were identified; 87% were linked to a student index case and 13% to school staff; 69% generated no secondary cases; 24% generated one or two; and only 7% caused more than two. Our data may help to clarify the role of school closures, providing useful input for decisions in the months to come. Good practice in public health management needs tools that provide a real-time interpretation of phenomena like COVID-19 outbreaks. The proposed measures should be easy to adopt and accessible to policymakers.

4.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(20)2021 10 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1470855

ABSTRACT

The aim of our study was to ascertain the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the general population during a period of moderate risk, just before Italy started to implement its vaccination campaign. A third-generation antigenic nasal swab sample was collected by a healthcare provider, and all individuals testing positive subsequently had a nasopharyngeal swab for molecular testing; the result was used to calculate the positive predictive value. The population consisted of 4467 asymptomatic adults with a mean age of 46.8 ± 16.00 years. The 62.2% tested for the first time, while 37.8% had previously undergone a mean 2.2 tests for SARS-CoV-2. With 77 of our overall sample reporting they had previously tested positive for COVID-19 and 14 found positive on our screening test, the overall estimated prevalence of the infection was 0.31%. Nine of the 14 cases were confirmed on molecular testing with a PPV of 64.3%. The mean age of the individuals testing positive was 38.1 ± 17.4. Based on the timing of symptom onset, six of the above cases were classified as false negatives, and the adjusted estimated prevalence was 0.34%. Describing levels of infection in a general population seems to be very difficult to achieve, and the universal screening proved hugely expensive particularly in a low-prevalence situation. Anyway, it is only thanks to mass screening efforts that epidemiological data have been collected. This would support the idea that routine screening may have an impact on mitigating the spread of the virus in higher-risk environments, where people come into contact more frequently, as in the workplace.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Vaccines , Adult , Humans , Mass Screening , Middle Aged , Prevalence , SARS-CoV-2
5.
J Travel Med ; 2021 Aug 18.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1364814

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In August 2020, in the context of COVID-19 pandemics, an autochthonous dengue outbreak was identified for the first time in Italy. METHODS: Following the reporting of the index case of autochthonous dengue, epidemiological investigation, vector control, and substances of human origin safety measures were immediately activated, according to the national arbovirus surveillance plan. Dengue cases were followed-up with weekly visits and laboratory tests until recovery and clearance of viral RNA from blood. RESULTS: The primary dengue case was identified in a young woman, who developed fever after returning from Indonesia to northern Italy, on July 27, 2020. She spent the mandatory quarantine for COVID-19 at home with relatives, six of whom developed dengue within two weeks. Epidemiological investigation identified further five autochthonous dengue cases among people who lived or stayed near the residence of the primary case. The last case of the outbreak developed fever on September 29, 2020. Dengue cases had a mild febrile illness, except one with persistent asthenia and myalgia. DENV-1 RNA was detected in blood and/or urine in all autochthonous cases, up to 35 days after fever onset. All cases developed IgM and IgG antibodies which cross-reacted with West Nile virus (WNV) and other flaviviruses. Sequencing of the full viral genome from blood samples showed over 99% nucleotide identity with DENV-1 strains isolated in China in 2014-2015; phylogenetic analysis classified the virus within Genotype I. Entomological site inspection identified a high density of A. albopictus mosquitoes, which conceivably sustained local DENV-1 transmission. Aedes koreicus mosquitoes were also collected in the site. CONCLUSIONS: Areas in Europe with high density of Aedes mosquitoes should be considered at risk for dengue transmission. The presence of endemic flaviviruses, like WNV, might pose problems in the laboratory diagnosis.

6.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(11)2021 05 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1244013

ABSTRACT

In 2013, in a bid to combat Vaccine Hesitancy (VH) and provide information on vaccines by communicating with the general public and the health community (e.g., healthcare workers and public health operators), the Italian Society of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine (S.It.I.) published the national website "VaccinarSì". The project was subsequently extended to ten Italian Regions. This led to the creation of the VaccinarSì Network, whose websites are publicly owned. The aim of this work was to present the framework of the websites of the VaccinarSì Network and to analyse user behaviour in the pre-COVID-19-era (dating from each website's publication until 31 January 2020) and in the COVID-19-era (from 1 February 2020 to 31 January 2021). Some metrics such as the number of visits to the site (sessions, number of users and average session duration), user behaviour (pages viewed, bounce rate and organic search) and the session acquisition path (direct traffic, referrals and social traffic) were searched, extrapolated and processed with Google Analytics. Qualitative and normally distributed quantitative variables were summarised with their absolute (relative) frequencies and means. Statistical differences between the means of the two periods were evaluated through paired t-test. A two-tailed p-value less than 0.05 was considered to be statistically significant. When the total values recorded over the period were compared, an overall increase in metrics was observed-the number of individual users, visits and individual pageviews rose in a statistically significant way. Our study aimed to highlight how combining disciplines such as health education and digital communication via Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) represents the best strategy to support citizens. This approach gives them the tools to become independent and responsible players that are capable of voluntarily and consciously choosing to adhere to vaccination programs. The VaccinarSì Network's goal for the future is to reach an even wider audience. By building each user's critical knowledge, this network enables users to be active components of a wider, more empowered community.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Health Communication , Vaccines , Communication , Humans , Italy , SARS-CoV-2
7.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(5)2021 03 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1134151

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is interest in assessing if per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) exposures are associated with any increased risk of COVID-19 or its severity, given the evidence of immunosuppression by some PFAS. The objective of this paper is to evaluate at the ecological level if a large area (Red Zone) of the Veneto Region, where residents were exposed for decades to drinking water contaminated by PFAS, showed higher mortality for COVID-19 than the rest of the region. METHODS: We fitted a Bayesian ecological regression model with spatially and not spatially structured random components on COVID-19 mortality at the municipality level (period between 21 February and 15 April 2020). The model included education score, background all-cause mortality (for the years 2015-2019), and an indicator for the Red Zone. The two random components are intended to adjust for potential hidden confounders. RESULTS: The COVID-19 crude mortality rate ratio for the Red Zone was 1.55 (90% Confidence Interval 1.25; 1.92). From the Bayesian ecological regression model adjusted for education level and baseline all-cause mortality, the rate ratio for the Red Zone was 1.60 (90% Credibility Interval 0.94; 2.51). CONCLUSION: In conclusion, we observed a higher mortality risk for COVID-19 in a population heavily exposed to PFAS, which was possibly explained by PFAS immunosuppression, bioaccumulation in lung tissue, or pre-existing disease being related to PFAS.


Subject(s)
Alkanesulfonic Acids , COVID-19 , Fluorocarbons , Bayes Theorem , Cities , Fluorocarbons/toxicity , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
8.
Euro Surveill ; 25(47)2020 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-976159

ABSTRACT

BackgroundVeneto was one of the Italian regions hit hardest by the early phase of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.AimThis paper describes the public health response and epidemiology of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infections in the Veneto Region from 21 February to 2 April 2020.MethodsInformation on the public health response was collected from regional health authorities' official sources. Epidemiological data were extracted from a web-based regional surveillance system. The epidemic curve was represented by date of testing. Characteristics of hospitalised COVID-19 cases were described and compared to those never admitted to hospital. Age- and sex-stratified case-fatality ratios (CFRs) were calculated.ResultsKey elements of the regional public health response were thorough case-finding and contact tracing, home care for non-severe cases, creation of dedicated COVID-19 healthcare facilities and activation of sub-intensive care units for non-invasive ventilation. As at 2 April 2020, 91,345 individuals were tested for SARS-CoV-2 and 10,457 (11.4%) were positive. Testing and attack rates were 18.6 per 1,000 and 213.2 per 100,000 population, respectively. The epidemic peaked around 20 to 24 March, with case numbers declining thereafter. Hospitalised cases (n = 3,623; 34.6%) were older and more frequently male compared with never-hospitalised cases. The CFR was 5.6% overall, and was higher among males and people > 60 years of age.ConclusionIn the Veneto Region, the strict social distancing measures imposed by the Italian government were supported by thorough case finding and contact tracing, as well as well-defined roles for different levels of care.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus , Hospitalization/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Public Health , Adolescent , Adult , Aged , Aged, 80 and over , COVID-19 , COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Testing , Child , Child, Preschool , Contact Tracing , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Female , Humans , Incidence , Infant , Infant, Newborn , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Pandemics , Physical Distancing , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Young Adult
9.
Euro Surveill ; 25(36)2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-976158

ABSTRACT

In August 2020, during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, five locally acquired cases of dengue virus type 1 were detected in a family cluster in Vicenza Province, North-East Italy where Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are endemic. The primary case was an importation from West Sumatra, Indonesia. This is the first outbreak of autochthonous dengue reported in Italy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, screening of febrile travelers from endemic countries is crucial in areas where competent vectors are present.


Subject(s)
Dengue Virus/isolation & purification , Dengue/diagnosis , Travel , Adult , Child, Preschool , Dengue/epidemiology , Dengue/immunology , Dengue/virology , Dengue Virus/genetics , Disease Outbreaks , Disease Transmission, Infectious , Female , Fever/etiology , Humans , Immunoglobulin G/blood , Immunoglobulin M/blood , Indonesia , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , RNA, Viral/blood , Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
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