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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10(12), 7180-7192; doi:10.3390/ijerph10127180

Integrated Human Surveillance Systems of West Nile Virus Infections in Italy: The 2012 Experience

1 National Centre for Epidemiology, Surveillance and Health Promotion, National Institute of Health (Istituto Superiore di Sanità, ISS), viale Regina Elena, 299-00161 Rome, Italy 2 National Blood Centre, National Institute of Health, via Giano della Bella, 27-00161 Rome, Italy 3 National Transplantation Center, via Giano della Bella, 34-00161 Rome, Italy 4 Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immune-mediated Diseases, National Institute of Health (Istituto Superiore di Sanità, ISS), viale Regina Elena, 299-00161 Rome, Italy 5 Department of Prevention and Communication, Ministry of Health, via Ribotta, 5-00144 Rome, Italy 6 Department of Public Health and Screening, Veneto region, Dorsoduro, 3493, 30125 Venice, Italy
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 October 2013 / Revised: 27 November 2013 / Accepted: 2 December 2013 / Published: 13 December 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epidemiology of West Nile Virus)
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In Italy, a West Nile virus (WNV) surveillance plan was firstly implemented in 2008 and 2009 in two affected regions and, since 2010, according to a national plan, a WNV neuroinvasive disease (WNND) surveillance has to be carried out each year during the period 15 June–30 November, in those regions where WNV circulation has been demonstrated among humans, animals or vectors. Moreover, since WNV can be transmitted to humans even by blood transfusions and organ transplants obtained from infected donors, the national surveillance integrates the blood transfusions and organs transplant surveillances too. The paper describes the results of this integrated human surveillance in Italy in 2012. Overall, in 2012, 28 autochthonous confirmed cases of WNND were reported, 14 blood donations were found WNV positive by Nucleic Acid Amplification Test and no solid organ donors tested positive for WNV. Moreover, 17 cases of WNV fever were confirmed in Veneto region. When comparing the number of WNND cases reported to the surveillance system in previous 4 years (43 cases during the period 2008–2011), with those reported in 2012 an important increase was observed in 2012. The geographic distribution of human cases was consistent with the WNV circulation among animals and vectors. Moreover, the implementation of preventive measures for WNV transmission through blood components allowed the detection of blood donors positive for WNV, avoiding the further spread of the disease. Since surveillance strategies and preventive measures are based on the integration among human, animal and vector control activities, the Italian experience could be considered a good example of collaboration among different sectors of public health in a “one health” perspective.
Keywords: West Nile virus infections; epidemiology; surveillance; Italy West Nile virus infections; epidemiology; surveillance; Italy
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Napoli, C.; Bella, A.; Declich, S.; Grazzini, G.; Lombardini, L.; Costa, A.N.; Nicoletti, L.; Pompa, M.G.; Pupella, S.; Russo, F.; Rizzo, C. Integrated Human Surveillance Systems of West Nile Virus Infections in Italy: The 2012 Experience. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2013, 10, 7180-7192.

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