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1.
Front Public Health ; 11: 1122141, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2314865

ABSTRACT

A significant number of people, following acute SARS-CoV-2 infection, report persistent symptoms or new symptoms that are sustained over time, often affecting different body systems. This condition, commonly referred to as Long-COVID, requires a complex clinical management. In Italy new health facilities specifically dedicated to the diagnosis and care of Long-COVID were implemented. However, the activity of these clinical centers is highly heterogeneous, with wide variation in the type of services provided, specialistic expertise and, ultimately, in the clinical care provided. Recommendations for a uniform management of Long-COVID were therefore needed. Professionals from different disciplines (including general practitioners, specialists in respiratory diseases, infectious diseases, internal medicine, geriatrics, cardiology, neurology, pediatrics, and odontostomatology) were invited to participate, together with a patient representative, in a multidisciplinary Panel appointed to draft Good Practices on clinical management of Long-COVID. The Panel, after extensive literature review, issued recommendations on 3 thematic areas: access to Long-COVID services, clinical evaluation, and organization of the services. The Panel highlighted the importance of providing integrated multidisciplinary care in the management of patients after SARS-CoV-2 infection, and agreed that a multidisciplinary service, one-stop clinic approach could avoid multiple referrals and reduce the number of appointments. In areas where multidisciplinary services are not available, services may be provided through integrated and coordinated primary, community, rehabilitation and mental health services. Management should be adapted according to the patient's needs and should promptly address possible life-threatening complications. The present recommendations could provide guidance and support in standardizing the care provided to Long-COVID patients.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Geriatrics , Humans , Child , Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , SARS-CoV-2 , Health Services Accessibility
2.
Ann Ist Super Sanita ; 59(1): 26-30, 2023.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2281430

ABSTRACT

Among the objectives of the WHO Global Vaccination Action Plan 2020-2025, there is the establishment, in all countries, of a National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG), an independent body with the aim of supporting and harmonising vaccination policies. Italy firstly established a NITAG in 2017; it contributed to the nation's immunization policies but fell short of its goal of becoming a true reference group. The newly appointed NITAG, made up of 28 independent experts, has the ambitious goal to promote the new National Immunization Prevention Plan (PNPV), to harmonise the current vaccination schedule with the anti-COVID-19 campaign, and to recover the vaccination coverage decline that occurred during the pandemic. The contact with the ECDC EU/EEA, the WHO Global NITAG networks, and all the national stakeholders needs to be reinforced in order to accomplish these aims. This paper describes the structure, organisation, and strategy of the new Italian NITAG.


Subject(s)
Advisory Committees , COVID-19 , Immunization Programs , Mass Vaccination , Advisory Committees/history , Advisory Committees/organization & administration , Italy/epidemiology , Immunization Programs/ethics , Immunization Programs/organization & administration , Immunization Programs/standards , Immunization Programs/trends , COVID-19/epidemiology , History, 21st Century , Goals , Mass Vaccination/ethics , Mass Vaccination/organization & administration , Mass Vaccination/standards , Mass Vaccination/trends , Conflict of Interest , Humans
3.
J Clin Med ; 11(24)2022 Dec 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2163477

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The role of statins among patients with established cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) who are hospitalized with COVID-19 is still debated. This study aimed at assessing whether the prior use of statins was associated with a less severe COVID-19 prognosis. METHODS: Subjects with CVDs infected with SARS-CoV-2 and hospitalized between 20 February 2020 and 31 December 2020 were selected. These were classified into two mutually exclusive groups: statins-users and non-users of lipid-lowering therapies (non-LLT users). The relationship between statins exposure and the risk of Mechanical Ventilation (MV), Intensive Care Unit (ICU) access and death were evaluated by using logistic and Cox regressions models. RESULTS: Of 1127 selected patients, 571 were statins-users whereas 556 were non-LLT users. The previous use of statins was not associated with a variation in the risk of need of MV (Odds Ratio [OR]: 1.00; 95% Confidence Intervals [CI]: 0.38-2.67), ICU access (OR: 0.54; 95% CI: 0.22-1.32) and mortality at 14 days (Hazard Ratio [HR]: 0.42; 95% CI: 0.16-1.10). However, a decreased risk of mortality at 30 days (HR: 0.39; 95% CI: 0.18-0.85) was observed in statins-users compared with non-LLT users. CONCLUSIONS: These findings support the clinical advice for patients CVDs to continue their treatment with statins during SARS-CoV-2 infection.

4.
European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, Copenhagen (Denmark) ; 2021.
Article in English | EuropePMC | ID: covidwho-2045426

ABSTRACT

Digital health tools hold the potential to improve the efficiency, accessibility and quality of care. Before the pandemic, efforts had been made to support implementation across Europe over many years, but widespread adoption in practice had been difficult and slow. The greatest barriers to adoption of digital health tools were not primarily technical in nature, but instead lay in successfully facilitating the required individual, organizational and system changes. During the COVID-19 pandemic many digital health tools moved from being viewed as a potential opportunity to becoming an immediate necessity, and their use increased substantially. Digital health tools have been used during the pandemic to support four main areas: communication and information, including tackling misinformation;surveillance and monitoring;the continuing provision of health care such as through remote consultations;and the rollout and monitoring of vaccination programmes. Greater use of digital health tools during the pandemic has been facilitated by: policy changes to regulation and reimbursement;investment in technical infrastructure;and training for health professionals. As the pandemic comes under control, if health systems are to retain added value from greater use of digital health tools, active strategies are needed now to build on the current momentum around their use. Areas to consider while developing such strategies include: Ensuring clear system-level frameworks and reimbursement regimes for the use of digital health tools, while allowing scope for co-design of digital health solutions by patients and health professionals for specific uses. Combining local flexibility with monitoring and evaluation to learn lessons and ensure that digital health tools help to meet wider health system goals.

5.
Front Public Health ; 10: 975527, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2023000

ABSTRACT

Background: Despite the growing clinical relevance of Long-COVID, there is minimal information available on the organizational response of health services to this condition. Methods: A national online survey of centers providing assistance for Long-COVID was implemented. Information collected included date of start of activity, target population, mode of assistance and of referral, type and number of specialists available, diagnostic and instrumental tests, use of telemedicine and of specific questionnaires. Results: Between February and May 2022, 124 centers completed the survey. Half of them were situated in northern Italy. Most (88.9%) provided assistance through either outpatient visits or day hospital services. Eleven (8.9%) assisted pediatric patients. Access to centers included scheduled visits for previously hospitalized patients (67.7%), referral from primary care (62.1%), from other specialists (46.8%), and, less commonly, from other services. Almost half of the centers (46.3%) started their activity early in the pandemics (March-September 2020). Almost all (93.5%) communicated with primary care physicians, and 21.8% used telemedicine tools. The mean number of patients followed was 40 per month (median 20, IQR 10-40). In most cases, the center coordinator was a specialist in respiratory diseases (30.6%), infectious diseases (28.2%), or internal medicine (25.0%). At least half of the centers had specialistic support in cardiology, respiratory diseases, radiology, infectious diseases, neurology and psychology, but roughly one quarter of centers had just only one (14.5%) or two (9.7%) specialists available. The clinical assessment was usually supported by a wide range of laboratory and instrumental diagnostics and by multidimensional evaluations. Conclusions: Most of the centers had an articulate and multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis and care of Long-COVID. However, a minority of centers provided only single or dual specialistic support. These findings may be of help in defining common standards, interventions and guidelines that can reduce gaps and heterogeneity in assistance to patients with Long-COVID.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Telemedicine , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Telemedicine/methods , Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome
6.
Int J Infect Dis ; 124: 27-34, 2022 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2007751

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Previous studies ruled out the benefits of azithromycin for treatment of patients with COVID-19 who are hospitalized. However, the effects of azithromycin for treatment of patients with positive SARS-CoV-2 test results in the community remains a matter of debate. This study aimed to assess whether azithromycin, when used in subjects with positive test results for SARS-CoV-2, is associated with a reduced risk of hospitalization, in-hospital COVID-19 outcomes, and death. METHODS: Two study cohorts were selected. Cohort A included subjects with positive test results for SARS-CoV-2 between February 20, 2020 and December 10, 2020; cohort B included subjects infected with SARS-CoV-2 and hospitalized between February 20, 2020 and December 31, 2020. We compared the risk of hospitalization, intensive care unit access, need for mechanical ventilation, and death in azithromycin users versus nonusers. A clustered Fine-Gray analysis was employed to assess the risk of hospitalization; logistic and Cox regressions were performed to assess the risk of intensive care unit access, mechanical ventilation, and death. RESULTS: In cohort A, among 4861 azithromycin users and 4861 propensity-matched nonusers, azithromycin use was associated with higher risk of hospitalization (hazard ratio [HR] 1.59, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.45-1.75) compared with nonuse. In cohort B, among 997 subjects selected in both groups, azithromycin use was not significantly associated with intensive care unit access (odds ratio [OR] 1.22, 95% CI 0.93-1.56), mechanical ventilation (OR 1.30, 95% CI 0.99-1.70), 14-day mortality (HR0.88, 95% CI 0.74-1.05), or 30-day mortality (HR 0.89, 95% CI 0.77-1.03). CONCLUSION: Our findings confirm the lack of benefits of azithromycin treatment among community patients infected with SARS-CoV-2, raising concern on potential risks associated with its inappropriate use.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 Drug Treatment , Humans , Azithromycin/adverse effects , SARS-CoV-2 , Hospitalization , Respiration, Artificial
7.
Viruses ; 14(9)2022 08 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1997811

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Although the understanding of several aspects of long COVID-19 syndrome is increasing, there is limited literature regarding the treatment of these signs and symptoms. The aim of our systematic review was to understand which therapies have proved effective against the symptoms of long COVID-19. METHODS: A systematic search for randomized controlled or clinical trials in several databases was conducted through 15 May 2022. Specific inclusion criteria included: (1) intervention studies, either randomized controlled (RCTs) or clinical trials; (2) diagnosis of long COVID-19, according to the World Health Organization criteria; (3) presence of long COVID-19 for at least 12 weeks after SARS-CoV-2 infection. RESULTS: We initially found 1638 articles to screen. After removing 1602 works based on their title/abstract, we considered 35 full texts, and among them, two intervention studies were finally included. The first RCT focused on the greater improvement of treatment combining olfactory rehabilitation with oral supplementation with Palmitoylethanolamide and Luteolin in patients with olfactory dysfunction after COVID-19. The second study evaluated the positive impact of aromatherapy vs. standard care in adult females affected by fatigue. CONCLUSION: Our systematic review found only two intervention studies focused on patients affected by long COVID-19. More intervention studies are needed to investigate potentially positive interventions for long COVID-19 symptoms.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Adult , COVID-19/complications , COVID-19/therapy , Female , Humans , Luteolin , SARS-CoV-2 , Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome
8.
Microorganisms ; 10(8)2022 Aug 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1987895

ABSTRACT

Recently, numerous cases of monkeypox were reported from several non-endemic countries in Europe, North America, and Oceania, suggesting an unusual and alarming public health issue, particularly considering that the disease is not directly related to human or animal travels. Attention is currently being drawn to this phenomenon since more than 70% of the global population is no longer vaccinated against smallpox. Indeed, the smallpox vaccination also confers some indirect degree of protection against other poxviruses, including monkeypox. We performed a narrative review to describe the existing literature with regard to monkeypox using the MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Scopus databases. This review aims to provide updated evidence of findings on the epidemiology, clinical features, diagnosis, management, and prevention of monkeypox, also considering the concurrent zoonotic pandemic caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

9.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 10(7)2022 Jul 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1939055

ABSTRACT

OBJECTIVES: Italy was the first European country to introduce universal vaccination of adolescents, for both males and females, against Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) starting in 2017 with the NIP 2017-2019's release. However, vaccine coverage rates (VCRs) among adolescents have shown a precarious take-off since the NIP's release, and this situation worsened due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The aim of this work is to estimate the epidemiological and economic impact of drops in VCRs due to the pandemic on those generations that missed the vaccination appointment and to discuss alternative scenarios in light of the national data. METHODS: Through an analysis of the official ministerial HPV vaccination reports, a model was developed to estimate the number of 12-year-old males and females who were not vaccinated against HPV during the period 2017-2021. Based on previously published models that estimate the incidence and the economic impact of HPV-related diseases in Italy, a new model was developed to estimate the impact of the aggregated HPV VCRs achieved in Italy between 2017 and 2021. RESULTS: Overall, in 2021, 723,375 girls and 1,011,906 boys born between 2005 and 2009 were not vaccinated against HPV in Italy (42% and 52% of these cohorts, respectively). As compared with the 95% target provided by the Italian NIP, between 505,000 and 634,000 girls will not be protected against a large number of HPV-related diseases. For boys, the number of the unvaccinated population compared to the applicable target is over 615,000 in the 'best case scenario' and over 749,000 in the 'worst case scenario'. Overall, between 1.1 and 1.3 million young adolescents born between 2005 and 2009 will not be protected against HPV-related diseases over their lifetime with expected lifetime costs of non-vaccination that will be over EUR 905 million. If the 95% optimal VCRs were achieved, the model estimates a cost reduction equal to EUR 529 million, the net of the costs incurred to implement the vaccination program. CONCLUSION: Suboptimal vaccination coverage represents a missed opportunity, not only because of the increased burden of HPV-related diseases, but also in terms of economic loss. Thus, reaching national HPV immunization goals is a public health priority.

10.
Annali dell'Istituto Superiore di Sanita ; 57(1):1-6, 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1733075

ABSTRACT

Background. Digital health (DH) is nowadays fundamental for physicians. Despite the improvement of Information and communications technology (ICT) Italian medical doctors’ (MDs) education system seems not adequate in this area. Moreover, given the Covid-19 outbreak, societies are waking up to their limitations in this regard. Aim of this paper is to analyze the Italian status quo in DH. Methods.The Italian Young Medical Doctors Association (SIGM) proposed a web based survey to assess the status quo of awareness and training in terms DH among young doctors. The investigated areas were: Big Data, -omics technology and predictive models, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things, Telemedicine, social media, blockchain and clinical-data storage. Results. A total of 362 participants answered to the survey. Only 13% had any experience in big data during clinical or research activities, 13% for -omics technology and predictive models, 13% for AI, 6% had experience in Internet of Things, 22% experienced at least one telemedicine tool and 23% of the participants declared that during their clinical activities data collection is paper-driven. Conlclusions.For any investigated area, three categories of MDs were described: the high-tech, the low-tech and the no-tech one. An urgent integration of pre- and post- graduation training in DH is required to provide a homogeneous and adequate medical education.

11.
Vaccines (Basel) ; 10(1)2022 Jan 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1625697

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected national healthcare systems worldwide, with around 282 million cumulative confirmed cases reported in over 220 countries and territories as of the end of 2021. The Italian National Health System was heavily affected, with detrimental impacts on preventive service delivery. Routine vaccination services were disrupted across the country during the first months of the pandemic, and both access to and demand for vaccines have decreased during the pandemic. In many cases, parents preferred to postpone scheduled appointments for routine paediatric vaccinations because of stay-at-home orders or fear of COVID-19 infection when accessing care. The objective of the current study was to assess the routine childhood vaccine coverage (VC) rates during the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy. We compared 2020 and 2019 VC by age group and vaccine type. The Italian Ministry of Health collected anonymised and aggregated immunisation national data through the local health authorities (LHAs). Results were considered statistically significant at a two-tailed p-value ≤ 0.05. VC rates for mandatory vaccinations decreased in 2020 compared to 2019 (range of VC rate decrease: -1% to -2.7%), while chicken pox increased (+2.2%) in 7-year-old children. Recommended vaccinations were moderately affected (range of VC rate decrease in 2020 vs. 2019: -1.4% to -8.5%), with the exception of anti-HPV in males, Men ACWY, and anti-rotavirus vaccination (VC increase 2020 vs. 2019: +1.8%, +4.7% and +9.4%, respectively). In the COVID-19 era, the implementation of coherent, transparent, and effective communication campaigns and educational programs on safe childhood vaccinations, together with the increase in the number of healthcare staff employed, is essential to support strategies to reinforce vaccination confidence and behaviour, thus avoiding health threats due to VPD during and beyond COVID-19 times.

12.
Int Arch Occup Environ Health ; 94(8): 1751-1761, 2021 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1116841

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: The purpose of the present cross-sectional study is to investigate the role of perceived COVID-19-related organizational demands and threats in predicting emotional exhaustion, and the role of organizational support in reducing the negative influence of perceived COVID-19 work-related stressors on burnout. Moreover, the present study aims to add to the understanding of the role of personal resources in the Job Demands-Resources model (JD-R) by examining whether personal resources-such as the professionals' orientation towards patient engagement-may also strengthen the impact of job resources and mitigate the impact of job demands. METHODS: This cross-sectional study involved 532 healthcare professionals working during the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy. It adopted the Job-Demands-Resource Model to study the determinants of professional's burnout. An integrative model describing how increasing job demands experienced by this specific population are related to burnout and in particular to emotional exhaustion symptoms was developed. RESULTS: The results of the logistic regression models provided strong support for the proposed model, as both Job Demands and Resources are significant predictors (OR = 2.359 and 0.563 respectively, with p < 0.001). Moreover, healthcare professionals' orientation towards patient engagement appears as a significant moderator of this relationship, as it reduces Demands' effect (OR = 1.188) and increases Resources' effect (OR = 0.501). CONCLUSIONS: These findings integrate previous findings on the JD-R Model and suggest the relevance of personal resources and of relational factors in affecting professionals' experience of burnout.


Subject(s)
Burnout, Professional/epidemiology , COVID-19/psychology , Health Personnel/psychology , Occupational Stress/epidemiology , Adult , Cross-Sectional Studies , Female , Humans , Italy/epidemiology , Male , Middle Aged , Protective Factors , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2
13.
ERJ Open Res ; 6(3)2020 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-814557

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The real impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) on overall mortality remains uncertain as surveillance reports have attributed a limited number of deaths to novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) during the outbreak. The aim of this study was to assess the excess mortality during the COVID-19 outbreak in highly impacted areas of northern Italy. METHODS: We analysed data on deaths that occurred in the first 4 months of 2020 provided by the health protection agencies (HPAs) of Bergamo and Brescia (Lombardy), building a time-series of daily number of deaths and predicting the daily standardised mortality ratio (SMR) and cumulative number of excess deaths through a Poisson generalised additive model of the observed counts in 2020, using 2019 data as a reference. RESULTS: We estimated that there were 5740 (95% credible set (CS) 5552-5936) excess deaths in the HPA of Bergamo and 3703 (95% CS 3535-3877) in Brescia, corresponding to a 2.55-fold (95% CS 2.50-2.61) and 1.93 (95% CS 1.89-1.98) increase in the number of deaths. The excess death wave started a few days later in Brescia, but the daily estimated SMR peaked at the end of March in both HPAs, roughly 2 weeks after the introduction of lockdown measures, with significantly higher estimates in Bergamo (9.4, 95% CI 9.1-9.7). CONCLUSION: Excess mortality was significantly higher than that officially attributed to COVID-19, disclosing its hidden burden likely due to indirect effects on the health system. Time-series analyses highlighted the impact of lockdown restrictions, with a lower excess mortality in the HPA where there was a smaller delay between the epidemic outbreak and their enforcement.

14.
ERJ Open Res ; 6(2)2020 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-624423

ABSTRACT

This study provides evidence of the enormous death toll attributable to COVID-19 https://bit.ly/2X4C6a8.

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