West African Immigrants and New Patterns of Malaria Imported to North Eastern Italy

Giovanni Di Perri, Maurizio Solbiati, Sandro Vento, Giovanna De Checchi, Roberto Luzzati, Stefano Bonora, Mara Merighi, Stefania Marocco, Giancarlo Fibbia, Ercole Concia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Background: With the settlement of increasing numbers of immigrants from tropical African countries into Italy over the last decade, the epidemiologic pattern of imported malaria underwent significant change. Italian immigrants originating from endemic areas who revisit their country of origin have exhibited an increasing incidence of malaria: the Italian Ministry of Health recorded an increase of from 14% in 1986 to 40.4% in 1991. Methods: This retrospective study reviews the epidemiology of all malaria cases recorded from 1988 to 1991 in a regional reference center in North Eastern Italy. Epidemiologic factors, including the details of their travel experience, were examined for all cases, and the relation of immigrants to Italian‐born citizens were compared. Results: Of the 100 cases recorded during this period, 36 were diagnosed in 1988–1989 and 64 in 1990–1991. Immigrants accounted for six times more cases during the latter than during the former time period. Compared to nonimmune short‐term travelers, immigrants experienced significantly milder forms of the disease and lower levels of parasitemia (Plasmodium falciparum) on admission. Notably, 10 cases of malaria in immigrants were not recognized at first observation on microbiology. Conclusions: With the advent of this new risk group of immigrants that originate from endemic countries, especially those making occasional short visits to their native countries, this new epidemiologic profile of malaria imported into Italy shows the need for improvement in the areas of prophylaxis, pretravel education, and diagnostic services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)147-151
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Travel Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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