Publications by authors named "Francesco Bagordo"

29 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

The Water Safety Plan Approach: Application to Small Drinking-Water Systems-Case Studies in Salento (South Italy).

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 04 20;18(8). Epub 2021 Apr 20.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technology, University of Salento, via Monteroni 165, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

Background: The quality of water for human consumption is an objective of fundamental importance for the defense of public health. Since the management of networks involves many problems of control and efficiency of distribution, the Water Safety Plan (WSP) was introduced to address these growing problems.

Methods: WSP was applied to three companies in which the water resource assumes central importance: five water kiosks, a third-range vegetable processing company, and a residence and care institution. In drafting the plan, the terms and procedures designed and tested for the management of urban distribution systems were applied to safeguard the resource over time.

Results: The case studies demonstrated the reliability of the application of the model even to small drinking-water systems, even though it involved a greater effort in analyzing the incoming water, the local intended use, and the possibilities for managing the containment of the dangers to which it is exposed. This approach demonstrates concrete effectiveness in identifying and mitigating the dangers of altering the quality of water.

Conclusions: Thanks to the WSP applied to small drinking-water systems, we can move from management that is focused mainly on verifying the conformity of the finished product to the creation of a global risk assessment and management system that covers the entire water supply chain.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18084360DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8073285PMC
April 2021

Early-Life Exposure to Environmental Air Pollution and Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Review of Available Evidence.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 01 29;18(3). Epub 2021 Jan 29.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technology, University of Salento, via Monteroni 165, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

The number of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has rapidly increased globally. Genetic and environmental factors both contribute to the development of ASD. Several studies showed linkage between prenatal, early postnatal air pollution exposure and the risk of developing ASD. We reviewed the available literature concerning the relationship between early-life exposure to air pollutants and ASD onset in childhood. We searched on Medline and Scopus for cohort or case-control studies published in English from 1977 to 2020. A total of 20 articles were selected for the review. We found a strong association between maternal exposure to particulate matter (PM) during pregnancy or in the first years of the children's life and the risk of the ASD. This association was found to be stronger with PM and less evident with the other pollutants. Current evidence suggest that pregnancy is the period in which exposure to environmental pollutants seems to be most impactful concerning the onset of ASD in children. Air pollution should be considered among the emerging risk factors for ASD. Further epidemiological and toxicological studies should address molecular pathways involved in the development of ASD and determine specific cause-effect associations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18031204DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7908547PMC
January 2021

IgM and IgG Profiles Reveal Peculiar Features of Humoral Immunity Response to SARS-CoV-2 Infection.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 02 1;18(3). Epub 2021 Feb 1.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

The emergence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is globally a major healthcare threat. There is little information regarding the mechanisms and roles of the humoral response in SARS-CoV-2 infection. The aim of this study was to analyze the antibody levels (IgM and IgG) by chemiluminescence immunoassay in 54 subjects positive to SARS-CoV-2 swab test in relation to their clinical status (whether asymptomatic, pauci-symptomatic or with mild, sever or critical symptoms), the time from the symptom onset, sex, age, and comorbidities. Overall, the presence of comorbidities and the age of subjects were associated with their clinical status. The IgG concentrations were significantly higher in patients who developed critical and severe symptoms and seemed to be independent from age, sex and comorbidities. IgG titers peaked around day 60, and then began gradually to drop, decreasing by approximately 50% on the 180th day, while the IgM titers progressively decreased as early as the tenth day, but they could be detected even at later time points. Despite the small number of individuals, some peculiar characteristics of the humoral response in COVID-19 emerged. We observed a high inter-individual variability, an ephemeral IgG half-life in several patients, and a persistence of IgM in others.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18031318DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7908175PMC
February 2021

The influence of lifestyle factors on miRNA expression and signal pathways: a review.

Epigenomics 2021 Jan 23;13(2):145-164. Epub 2020 Dec 23.

Institute of Clinical Physiology, National Research Council, Branch of Lecce, c/o Ecotekne via Monteroni, Lecce, 73100, Italy.

The term 'lifestyle' includes different factors that contribute to the maintenance of a good health status. Increasing evidences suggest that lifestyle factors may influence epigenetic mechanisms, such as miRNAs expression. The dysregulation of miRNAs can modify the expression of genes and molecular pathways that may lead to functional alterations. This review summarizes human studies highlighting that diet, physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption may affect the miRNA machinery and several biological functions. Most miRNAs are involved in molecular pathways that influence inflammation, cell cycle regulation and carcinogenesis resulting in the onset or progression of pathological conditions. Investigating these interactions will be pivotal for understanding the etiology of pathologic processes, the potential new treatment strategies and for preventing diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/epi-2020-0289DOI Listing
January 2021

Microbiological and Chemical Assessment of Wastewater Discharged by Infiltration Trenches in Fractured and Karstified Limestone (SCA.Re.S. Project 2019-2020).

Pathogens 2020 Nov 30;9(12). Epub 2020 Nov 30.

National Research Council (CNR), Water Research Institute (IRSA), via F. De Blasio, 5, 70132 Bari, Italy.

This study investigated the environmental contamination of groundwater as a consequence of the discharge of treated wastewater into the soil. The investigation focused on a wastewater treatment plant located in an area fractured by karst in the Salento peninsula (Apulia, Italy). Water samples were collected at four sites (raw wastewater, treated wastewater, infiltration trench, and monitoring well), monthly from May to December 2019 (with the exception of August), and were tested for (1) panel of bacteria; (2) enteric viruses; and (3) chemical substances. A gradual reduction in the concentration of bacteria, viruses and contaminants of emerging concern was observed across the profile of soil fissured by karst. All monitored bacteria were absent from the monitoring well, except for . Pepper mild mottle virus and adenovirus were detected at all sampling sites. Personal care products and X-ray contrast media showed the greatest decrease in concentration from infiltration trench to the monitoring well, while the highest residual concentrations in the monitoring well were found for anticonvulsants (78.5%), antimicrobials (41.3%), and antipsychotic drugs (38.6%). Our results show that parameters provided by current law may not always be sufficient to evaluate the sanitary risk relating to the discharge of treated wastewater to the soil.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/pathogens9121010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7759865PMC
November 2020

Direct detection of free vitamin D as a tool to assess risk conditions associated with chronic plaque psoriasis.

J Prev Med Hyg 2020 Sep 6;61(3):E489-E495. Epub 2020 Oct 6.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy.

Introduction: Psoriasis is a major public health problem that results in high social and health costs. New approaches and methods are required to identify any conditions related to the disease and comorbidity development. The vitamin D deficiency is associated to psoriasis and could play an important role in its pathogenesis. However, the serum level of vitamin D is currently measured as total vitamin D, which is affected by wide variability. Therefore, the determination of the free form could be more significant, since it is independent of confounding factors. A cross-sectional study was performed to assess the association between chronic plaque psoriasis and serum level of free vitamin D, detected by a direct analytical method.

Methods: The levels of bioavailable vitamin D, total vitamin D and other metabolic parameters whose homeostasis is regulated by vitamin D were evaluated in 72 psoriasis patients and in 48 healthy controls. A direct immunoassay method was used to measure serum free vitamin D level. Analysis of covariance was performed to calculate estimated marginal means (EMM) and 95% confidence interval (CI), after adjustment for age, sex and BMI, within the two groups.

Results: Patients showed an EMM of 5.526 ± 0.271pg/ml, 95% CI 4.989-6.063; while controls an EMM of 6.776 ± 0.271 pg/ml, 95% CI 6.115-7.437.

Conclusions: Chronic plaque psoriasis patients exhibited a serum level of free vitamin D lower than controls. The direct immunoassay method could represent a useful tool to assess vitamin D status and identify a risk condition associated with the onset of the pathology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15167/2421-4248/jpmh2020.61.3.1482DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7595072PMC
September 2020

The expression of microRNAs and exposure to environmental contaminants related to human health: a review.

Int J Environ Health Res 2020 May 12:1-23. Epub 2020 May 12.

National Research Council, Institute of Clinical Physiology, Branch of Lecce, Lecce, Italy.

Environmental contaminants exposure may lead to detrimental changes to the microRNAs (miRNAs) expression resulting in several health effects. miRNAs, small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression, have multiple transcript targets and thereby regulate several signalling molecules. Even a minor alteration in the abundance of one miRNA can have deep effects on global gene expression. Altered patterns of miRNAs can be responsible for changes linked to various health outcomes, suggesting that specific miRNAs are activated in pathophysiological processes. In this review, we provide an overview of studies investigating the impact of air pollution, organic chemicals, and heavy metals on miRNA expression and the potential biologic effects on humans.: AHRR, aryl-hydrocarbon receptor repressor; AHR, aryl-hydrocarbon receptor; As, arsenic; BCL2, B-cell lymphoma 2; BCL2L11, B-cell lymphoma 2 like 11; BCL6, B-cell lymphoma 6; BPA, bisphenol A; CVD, cardiovascular diseases; CD40, cluster of differentiation 40; CCND1, Cyclin D1; CDKN1A, cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1A; Cr, chromium; CTBP1, C-terminal binding protein 1; CXCL12, C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 12; DAZAP1, deleted in azoospermia associated protein 1; DEP, diesel exhaust particles; EGFR, epidermal growth factor receptor; eNOS, endothelial nitric oxide synthase; EVs, extracellular vesicles; FAK, focal adhesion kinase; FAS, fas cell surface death receptor; FOXO, forkhead box O; HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin; Hg, mercury; HLA-A, human leukocyte antigen A; HMGB, high-mobility group protein B; IFNAR2, interferon alpha receptor subunit 2; IL-6, interleukin-6; IRAK1, interleukin 1 receptor associated kinase 1; JAK/STAT, janus kinase/signal transducers and activators of transcription; MAPK, mitogen-activated protein kinase; miRNAs, microRNAs; MVs, microvesicles; NCDs, noncommunicable diseases; NFAT, nuclear factor of activated T cells; NFkB, nuclear factor kappa B; NRF2, nuclear factor, erythroid-derived 2; NRG3, neuregulin 3; O, ozone; OP, organophosphorus pesticides; PAHs, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; Pb, lead; PCBs, polychlorinated biphenyls; PDCD4, programmed cell death 4; PDGFB, platelet derived growth factor subunit beta; PDGFR, platelet-derived growth factor receptor; PI3K/Akt, phosphoinositide-3-kinase/protein kinase B; PKA, protein kinase A; PM, particulate matter; PRKCQ, protein kinase C theta; PTEN, phosphatase and tensin homolog; SORT1, sortilin 1; TGFβ, transforming growth factor-β; TLR, toll-like receptor; TNF, tumor necrosis factors; TRAF1, tumor necrosis factors-receptor associated factors 1; TRAP, traffic-related air pollution; TREM1, triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 1; TRIAP1, TP53 regulated inhibitor of apoptosis 1; VCAM-1, vascular cell adhesion molecule 1; VEGFA, vascular endothelial growth factor A; XRCC2, X-ray repair cross complementing 2; YBX2, Y-box-binding protein 2; ZEB1, zinc finger E-box-binding homeobox 1; ZEB2, zinc finger E-box-binding homeobox 2; 8-OH-dG, 8-hydroxy-guanine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09603123.2020.1757043DOI Listing
May 2020

Micronucleus Frequency in Exfoliated Buccal Cells of Children Living in an Industrialized Area of Apulia (Italy).

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2020 02 13;17(4). Epub 2020 Feb 13.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

Micronuclei (MN) are biomarkers of early biological effect often used for detecting DNA damage in human population exposed to genotoxic agents. The aim of this study was to evaluate the frequency of MN in exfoliated buccal cells of children living in an industrialized (impacted) area compared with that found in children living in a control area without significant anthropogenic impacts. A total of 462 6-8-year-old children (206 in the impacted area, 256 in the control area) attending primary school were enrolled. A questionnaire was administered to the parents of the recruited children to obtain information about personal data, lifestyles, and food habits of their children. Atmospheric particulate fractions were collected near the involved schools to assess the level of environmental exposure of the children. The presence of MN was highlighted in 68.4% of children living in the impacted area with a mean MN frequency of 0.66‱ ± 0.61‱. MN positivity and frequency were significantly lower in the control area (37.1% and 0.27‱ ± 0.43‱, respectively). The frequency of MN was positively associated with quasi-ultrafine particulate matter (PM), traffic near the home, and consuming barbecued food; while adherence to the Mediterranean diet and practicing sport were negatively associated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041208DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7068596PMC
February 2020

Adherence to Mediterranean diet of children living in small Southern Italian villages.

Int J Food Sci Nutr 2020 Jun 21;71(4):490-499. Epub 2019 Oct 21.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy.

A cross-sectional study was conducted in the primary schools of five small villages of Salento Peninsula to evaluate the adherence to the Mediterranean Diet (MD) of 282 6-8-years old children in relation to lifestyles and socio-economic factors. The parents of children completed a self-administered questionnaire to evaluate the prevalence of personal, behavioural and socio-economic factors of their sons. Children's anthropometric measurements were also taken. The adherence to the MD was assessed using the Mediterranean Diet Quality Index for Children and Adolescents (KIDMED). The chi-square test was used to detect any differences among groups of children. Overall, 27.0% of children showed low adherence to the MD (KIDMED ≤3), 59.6% medium adherence (KIDMED 4-7) and 13.5% high adherence (KIDMED ≥8). The adherence to the MD was associated with the educational level (whether graduated or not) of the mother and the occupational status (whether employed or not) of both parents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09637486.2019.1679725DOI Listing
June 2020

Mutagenic and genotoxic effects induced by PM of different Italian towns in human cells and bacteria: The MAPEC_LIFE study.

Environ Pollut 2019 Feb 10;245:1124-1135. Epub 2018 Nov 10.

Department of Medical and Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences and Public Health, University of Brescia, 11 Viale Europa, 25123 Brescia, Italy. Electronic address:

Particulate matter (PM) is considered an atmospheric pollutant that mostly affects human health. The finest fractions of PM (PM or less) play a major role in causing chronic diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate the genotoxic effects of PM collected in five Italian towns using different bioassays. The role of chemical composition on the genotoxicity induced was also evaluated. The present study was included in the multicentre MAPEC_LIFE project, which aimed to evaluate the associations between air pollution exposure and early biological effects in Italian children. PM samples were collected in 2 seasons (winter and spring) using a high-volume multistage cascade impactor. The results showed that PM represents a very high proportion of PM (range 10-63%). PM organic extracts were chemically analysed (PAH, nitro-PAH) and tested by the comet assay (A549 and BEAS-2B cells), MN test (A549 cells) and Ames test on Salmonella strains (TA100, TA98, TA98NR and YG1021). The highest concentrations of PAHs and nitro-PAHs in PM were observed in the Torino, Brescia and Pisa samples in winter. The Ames test showed low mutagenic activity. The highest net revertants/m were observed in the Torino and Brescia samples (winter), and the mutagenic effect was associated with PM (p < 0.01), PAH and nitro-PAH (p < 0.05) concentrations. The YG1021 strain showed the highest sensitivity to PM samples. No genotoxic effect of PM extracts was observed using A549 cells except for some samples in winter (comet assay), while BEAS-2B cells showed light DNA damage in the Torino, Brescia and Pisa samples in winter, highlighting the higher sensitivity of BEAS-2B cells, which was consistent with the Ames test (p < 0.01). The results obtained showed that it is important to further investigate the finest fractions of PM, which represent a relevant percentage of PM, taking into account the chemical composition and the biological effects induced.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2018.11.017DOI Listing
February 2019

Health Risk Associated with Exposure to PM and Benzene in Three Italian Towns.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2018 08 6;15(8). Epub 2018 Aug 6.

Department of Biological and Environmental Science and Technology, University of Salento, via Monteroni 165, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

Air pollution in urban areas is a major concern as it negatively affects the health of a large number of people. The purpose of this study was to assess the inhalation health risk for exposure to PM and benzene of the populations living in three Italian cities. Data regarding PM and benzene daily measured by "traffic" stations and "background" stations in Torino, Perugia, and Lecce during 2014 and 2015 were compared to the limits indicated in the Directive 2008/50/EC. In addition, an inhalation risk analysis for exposure to benzene was performed for adults and children by applying the standard United States Environmental Protection Agency's (USEPA) methodology. The levels of PM detected in Torino exceeded the legal limits in both years with an increased mean concentration >10 µg/m³ comparing with background station. Benzene concentrations never exceeded the legislative target value. The increased cancer risk (ICR) for children exposed to benzene was greater than 1 × 10 only in the city of Torino, while for adults, the ICR was higher than 1 × 10 in all the cities. The results suggest the need for emission reduction policies to preserve human health from continuous and long exposure to air pollutants. A revision of legal limits would also be recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081672DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6121301PMC
August 2018

Micronuclei in Exfoliated Buccal Cells of Children Living in a Cluster Area of Salento (Southern Italy) with a High Incidence of Lung Cancer: The IMP.AIR Study.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2018 08 5;15(8). Epub 2018 Aug 5.

Department of Biological and Environmental Science and Technology, University of Salento, via Monteroni 165, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

During the years 2014⁻2016 the University of Salento performed the "Impact of Air Quality on Health of Residents in the Municipalities of Cutrofiano, Galatina, Sogliano Cavour, Soleto and Sternatia" (IMP.AIR) study, an epidemiological-molecular research project aiming to evaluate early DNA damage in children living in an area of Salento with high incidence of lung cancer among the male population. One hundred and twenty-two children aged 6⁻8 years attending primary school were enrolled and the frequency of micronucleated cells (MNC) in oral mucosa was evaluated. In addition, a questionnaire was administered to parents to obtain information about personal data, anthropometric characteristics and lifestyles (physical activity, food habits, family context) of the children and perform a multivariate analysis to detect any factors associated with MNC occurrence. Data on airborne pollutants detected in the study area were acquired by the Regional Agency for the Environmental Protection. The presence of MNC was highlighted in about 42% of children with a mean MNC frequency of 0.49‰. The frequency of MNC was associated to obesity, consumption of red or processed meat and having a mother who smokes. Moreover, the prevalence of biomarkers was higher than in another area of Salento not included in the cluster area.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081659DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6121539PMC
August 2018

Metastases of Hepatocellular Carcinoma Misdiagnosed as Isolated Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.

Ann Hepatol 2017 November-December,;16(6):966-969

Complex Operative Unit of Cardiology, "F. Ferrari" Hospital, Casarano-Lecce (Italy).

At present, cardiac metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma is rarely mentioned in the literature. We report a hepatocellular carcinoma patient with cardiac metastasis misdiagnosed as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in 2011. Two years later, on presentation of syncope, an abnormal ventricular septal size was recorded by ultrasound scan, and was subsequently shown by magnetic resonance imaging to be a tumour lesion. A myocardial biopsy confirmed infiltration of hepatocellular carcinoma. This observation underlines the risk of hepatocellular carcinoma cardiac metastasis, manifested in its infiltrative form as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In conclusion, we suggest that the ultrasound appearance of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in hepatocellular carcinoma patients should be seen as a "red flag" and recommend the introduction of magnetic resonance imaging assessment of transplant candidates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5604/01.3001.0010.5289DOI Listing
January 2018

Molecular characterization of Cryptococcus neoformans and Cryptococcus gattii from environmental sources and genetic comparison with clinical isolates in Apulia, Italy.

Environ Res 2018 01 17;160:347-352. Epub 2017 Oct 17.

Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italy.

The present study investigated the environmental distribution of Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii species complex molecular types, mating types and sequence types in Apulia, a region of Southern Italy. A total of 2078 specimens from arboreal and animal sources were analyzed. The percentage of positive samples was similar among both arboreal and animal specimens: 4.2% vs. 5.1% for C. neoformans species complex and 0.6% vs. 1.4% for C. gattii species complex. Molecular typing identified 78 isolates as VNI (76 αA and two aA), one as AD-hybrid αADa, and 16 as VGI aB. VNI isolates presented 10 different sequence types (STs) and VGI isolates two. The most frequent STs among C. neoformans and C. gattii species complex isolates were ST23 (51%) and ST156 (90%), respectively. Comparison with molecular types and STs results obtained from 21 clinical isolates collected in Apulia showed that one C. neoformans VNI clinical isolate shared an identical sequence type of one arboreal isolate (ST61) and that one C. gattii VGI clinical isolate matched with the main ST (ST156) present in the environment. In addition, molecular type VNIV was found only among clinical isolates and was absent in the investigated environmental area. In conclusion, the present study identified which C. neoformans and C. gattii species complex genotypes are circulating in Apulia, defined their ecological niches and revealed the relationship with clinical cases. It represents a basal study for addressing future investigations and public health interventions in the region.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2017.09.032DOI Listing
January 2018

Enteric Viruses and Fecal Bacteria Indicators to Assess Groundwater Quality and Suitability for Irrigation.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2017 05 24;14(6). Epub 2017 May 24.

Department of Biomedical Science and Human Oncology, University of Bari Aldo Moro, Piazza G. Cesare 11, 70124 Bari, Italy.

According to Italian Ministerial Decree No. 185 of 12 June 2003, water is considered suitable for irrigation if levels of fecal bacteria (i.e., and ) are within certain parameters. The detection of other microorganisms is not required. The aim of this study is to determine the bacteriological quality of groundwater used for irrigation and the occurrence of enteric viruses (Norovirus, Enterovirus, Rotavirus, Hepatovirus A), and to compare the presence of viruses with the fecal bacteria indicators. A total of 182 wells was analyzed. Widespread fecal contamination of Apulian aquifers was detected (141 wells; 77.5%) by the presence of fecal bacteria (i.e., , , total coliforms, and enterococci). Considering bacteria included in Ministerial Decree No. 185, the water from 35 (19.2%) wells was unsuitable for irrigation purposes. Among 147 wells with water considered suitable, Norovirus, Rotavirus, and Enterovirus were detected in 23 (15.6%) wells. No Hepatovirus A was isolated. Consequently, 58 wells (31.9%) posed a potential infectious risk for irrigation use. This study revealed the inadequacy of fecal bacteria indicators to predict the occurrence of viruses in groundwater and it is the first in Italy to describe the presence of human rotaviruses in well water used for irrigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14060558DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5486244PMC
May 2017

Lifestyles and socio-cultural factors among children aged 6-8 years from five Italian towns: the MAPEC_LIFE study cohort.

BMC Public Health 2017 03 7;17(1):233. Epub 2017 Mar 7.

Department of Medical and Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences and Public Health, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy.

Background: Lifestyles profoundly determine the quality of an individual's health and life since his childhood. Many diseases in adulthood are avoidable if health-risk behaviors are identified and improved at an early stage of life. The aim of the present research was to characterize a cohort of children aged 6-8 years selected in order to perform an epidemiological molecular study (the MAPEC_LIFE study), investigate lifestyles of the children that could have effect on their health status, and assess possible association between lifestyles and socio-cultural factors.

Methods: A questionnaire composed of 148 questions was administered in two different seasons to parents of children attending 18 primary schools in five Italian cities (Torino, Brescia, Pisa, Perugia and Lecce) to obtain information regarding the criteria for exclusion from the study, demographic, anthropometric and health information on the children, as well as some aspects on their lifestyles and parental characteristics. The results were analyzed in order to assess the frequency of specific conditions among the different seasons and cities and the association between lifestyles and socio-economic factors.

Results: The final cohort was composed of 1,164 children (50.9 boys, 95.4% born in Italy). Frequency of some factors appeared different in terms of the survey season (physical activity in the open air, the ways of cooking certain foods) and among the various cities (parents' level of education and rate of employment, sport, traffic near the home, type of heating, exposure to passive smoking, ways of cooking certain foods). Exposure to passive smoking and cooking fumes, obesity, residence in areas with heavy traffic, frequency of outdoor play and consumption of barbecued and fried foods were higher among children living in families with low educational and/or occupational level while children doing sports and consuming toasted bread were more frequent in families with high socio-economic level.

Conclusions: The socio-economic level seems to affect the lifestyles of children enrolled in the study including those that could cause health effects. Many factors are linked to the geographical area and may depend on environmental, cultural and social aspects of the city of residence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-017-4142-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5339991PMC
March 2017

Human bocavirus: Current knowledge and future challenges.

World J Gastroenterol 2016 Oct;22(39):8684-8697

Marcello Guido, Francesca Serio, Mattia De Giorgi, Antonella De Donno, Francesco Bagordo, Laboratory of Hygiene, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, Faculty of Sciences, University of Salento, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

Human bocavirus (HBoV) is a parvovirus isolated about a decade ago and found worldwide in both respiratory samples, mainly from early life and children of 6-24 mo of age with acute respiratory infection, and in stool samples, from patients with gastroenteritis. Since then, other viruses related to the first HBoV isolate (HBoV1), namely HBoV2, HBoV3 and HBoV4, have been detected principally in human faeces. HBoVs are small non-enveloped single-stranded DNA viruses of about 5300 nucleotides, consisting of three open reading frames encoding the first two the non-structural protein 1 (NS1) and nuclear phosphoprotein (NP1) and the third the viral capsid proteins 1 and 2 (VP1 and VP2). HBoV pathogenicity remains to be fully clarified mainly due to the lack of animal models for the difficulties in replicating the virus in cell cultures, and the fact that HBoV infection is frequently accompanied by at least another viral and/or bacterial respiratory and/or gastroenteric pathogen infection. Current diagnostic methods to support HBoV detection include polymerase chain reaction, real-time PCR, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and enzyme immunoassay using recombinant VP2 or virus-like particle capsid proteins, although sequence-independent amplification techniques combined with next-generation sequencing platforms promise rapid and simultaneous detection of the pathogens in the future. This review presents the current knowledge on HBoV genotypes with emphasis on taxonomy, phylogenetic relationship and genomic analysis, biology, epidemiology, pathogenesis and diagnostic methods. The emerging discussion on HBoVs as true pathogen or innocent bystander is also emphasized.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3748/wjg.v22.i39.8684DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5075545PMC
October 2016

Socio-Economic and Environmental Factors Associated with Overweight and Obesity in Children Aged 6-8 Years Living in Five Italian Cities (the MAPEC_LIFE Cohort).

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2016 10 11;13(10). Epub 2016 Oct 11.

Department of Medical and Surgical Specialties, Radiological Sciences and Public Health, University of Brescia, Viale Europa 11, Brescia 25123, Italy.

The prevalence of obesity among Italian children has reached such alarming levels as to require detailed studies of the causes of the phenomenon. A cross-sectional study was carried out in order to assess the weight status of 1164 Italian children aged 6-8 years (the Monitoring Air Pollution Effects on Children for Supporting Public Health Policy (MAPEC_LIFE) cohort) and to identify any associations between selected socio-economic and environmental factors and overweight/obesity. The data were obtained by means of a questionnaire given to parents, and any associations were examined by binomial logistic regression analyses. Overweight was found to be positively associated with male gender, parents of non-Italian origin, and parents who smoke, and negatively associated with the parents' level of education and employment. In addition, the frequency of overweight varied in relation to the geographical area of residence, with a greater prevalence of overweight children in the cities of central-southern Italy. This study highlights the need to implement appropriate obesity prevention programs in Italy, which should include educational measures concerning lifestyle for parents from the earliest stages of their child's life.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph13101002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5086741PMC
October 2016

Assessment of lifestyle and eating habits among undergraduate students in northern Italy.

Ann Ist Super Sanita 2015 ;51(2):154-61

Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biologiche ed Ambientali, Università del Salento, Lecce, Italy 

Aim And Methodology: Dietary habits of university students were analyzed in order to investigate any differences between students living at and away from home. Two hundred and fifty-eight undergraduate students attending University of Ferrara completed a self-administered questionnaire on demographic characteristics, food frequency consumption habits and body weight perception.

Results: Students living at home practiced more sport and consumed more frequently raw and cooked vegetables, fish, meat and poultry, fresh fruit, eggs, bread/cereals. Conversely, students living away from home consumed more often packaged/ready food, beer and spirits, milk and chips. The majority of students living alone reported a modification of dietary habits since leaving family. Furthermore they perceived to have a weight condition different from normal in a greater extent than students living with family.

Discussion: Students living alone encountered more difficulties in adopting a healthy diet so it would be desirable to adopt nutritional educational interventions on university students, usually neglected by these measures.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4415/ANN_15_02_14DOI Listing
December 2016

Impact of stinging jellyfish proliferations along south Italian coasts: human health hazards, treatment and social costs.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2014 Feb 27;11(3):2488-503. Epub 2014 Feb 27.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies (DiSTeBA), University of Salento, Lecce 73100, Italy.

Stinging jellyfish outbreaks represent a health hazard, causing contact dermatitis and systemic reactions. This study investigated the epidemiology, severity, and treatment protocols of jellyfish stings in a coastal area with high tourist development and frequent stinging jellyfish outbreaks of the central Mediterranean (Salento, Southern Italy), and the associated costs for the Italian National Health Service. In 2007-2011, 1,733 bathers (mostly children and females) sought medical assistance following jellyfish stings, the main cause of human pathologies due to contact with marine organisms. The majority of events were reported in the years 2007-2009, whereas the occurrence of cnidarian jellyfish outbreaks has been increasingly reported in the same area since summer 2010. Most symptoms were limited to local and cutaneous reactions; conversely, 8.7% of cases evoked complications, mainly due to allergic reactions. The main drugs used were corticosteroids, locally applied and systemic (46% and 43%, respectively), and with ammonia (74%) as the main non-pharmacological treatment. The estimated cost of jellyfish-related first-aid services along the Salento coastline over the 5-year period was approximately 400,000 Euros. Therefore the management of jellyfish outbreak phenomena need coordinated research efforts towards a better understanding of underlying ecological mechanisms, together with the adoption of effective prevention policy, mitigation strategies, and appropriate planning of health services at tourist hot spots.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph110302488DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3986988PMC
February 2014

Rotavirus Occurrence in Shellfish with Low Levels of E. coli.

Food Environ Virol 2013 Jul 30. Epub 2013 Jul 30.

Laboratory of Hygiene, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies (Di.S.Te.B.A.), University of Salento, Via Prov.le Lecce-Monteroni, Lecce, 73100, Italy.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate "in field" the accumulation of virus in shellfish and compare it with the concentration of bacterial indicators. Individuals of Mytilus galloprovincialis were placed in two sampling station located in a contaminated coastal bay and in one control station located one kilometer offshore. The presence of Rotavirus and E. coli was assessed weekly both in seawater and in shellfish samples. The Rotavirus genome was detected in water, preliminarily concentrated by tangential flow ultrafiltration method, and in hepatopancreas of mussels by Real-Time PCR. E. coli was enumerated in water matrices by a filtering method and in mussels by the MPN method. Rotaviruses were not recorded in seawater, while in mussels they were detected since third week after placement. E. coli in mussels were always below the limits set in the Regulation (EC) 854/2004. This study suggests the need for a viral indicator to insure the safety for consumption of shellfish.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12560-013-9119-zDOI Listing
July 2013

Detection of viruses in coastal seawater using Mytilus galloprovincialis as an accumulation matrix.

Food Environ Virol 2012 Jun 18;4(2):81-8. Epub 2012 May 18.

Laboratory of Hygiene, Department of Biological and Environmental Science and Technology (DiSTeBA), University of the Salento, via Prov.le Lecce-Monteroni, 73100, Lecce, Italy.

The purpose of this study was to demonstrate that shellfish can be used to detect enteric viruses in marine waters where they are present at very low concentrations. Aqua-cultured mussels were placed in the sea just off the mouth of a drainage channel affected by human and animal faecal contamination. Samples were taken from the channel, the sea and the mussels at intervals over two 4-week periods. The samples were tested to verify the presence of both rotaviruses and E. coli. Rotaviruses were detected by Real Time-PCR, typed by multiplex PCR and subsequently sequenced. E. coli was enumerated in water matrices by a filtering method and in mussels by the MPN method. The presence of E. coli in the examined matrices demonstrates contamination of faecal origin throughout the studied environments. Rotaviruses were recorded in channel waters, but not in sea water. In both experiments, rotaviruses were detected in mussels 21 and 28 days after being placed in the sea water off the channel mouth. The use of mussels thus enabled the detection of rotaviruses in waters where the high dilution rendered direct investigation impossible. This study indicates that mussels can be used in marine virological surveillance programs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12560-012-9079-8DOI Listing
June 2012

First-time comparison of the in vitro antimalarial activity of Artemisia annua herbal tea and artemisinin.

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 2012 Nov 15;106(11):696-700. Epub 2012 Sep 15.

Laboratory of Hygiene, Department of Biological and Environmental Science and Technology (DiSTeBA), University of Salento, Via Prov. le Lecce-Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

Artemisia annua tea has been proven to be a very effective treatment for malaria in various clinical trials, but to date its efficacy has not been investigated in vitro. A study was therefore performed to evaluate the effects of A. annua tea on Plasmodium falciparum cultures in vitro. The concentration of artemisinin in the herbal tea preparation was also determined. The herbal tea extract was tested against chloroquine (CQ)-sensitive D10 and CQ-resistant W2 strains of P. falciparum using the parasite lactate dehydrogenase assay. Quantification of artemisinin in the extract of leaves of A. annua was performed using proton nuclear magnetic resonance ((1)H-NMR). Results of the in vitro tests were consistent with the clinical efficacy of A. annua tea [50% inhibitory concentration (IC(50)) for strain D10=1.11±0.21 μg/ml; IC(50) for strain W2=0.88±0.35 μg/ml]. The concentration of artemisinin in A. annua tea (0.18±0.02% of dry weight) was far too low to be responsible for the antimalarial activity. The artemisinin present in the tea is probably co-solubilised with other ingredients, some of which also have antimalarial activity and act synergistically with it. These compounds also merit further research to determine whether their presence hinders the development of parasite resistance compared with pure artemisinin.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.trstmh.2012.07.008DOI Listing
November 2012

Epidemiology of jellyfish stings reported to summer health centres in the Salento peninsula (Italy).

Contact Dermatitis 2009 Jun;60(6):330-5

Laboratory of Hygiene, Department of Biological and Environmental Science and Technology (DiSTeBA), University of Salento, 73100 Lecce, Italy.

Background: The presence of jellyfish along coasts constitutes a potentially serious public health problem because of the toxic effects of contact with them.

Objective: To determine the epidemiology of jellyfish stings in the Province of Lecce, Italy, in 2007.

Methods: The study involved the gathering and processing of data on patients seeking medical treatment at summer first aid centres and hospitals along the coast of Salento following contact with jellyfish.

Results: In 2007, 446 bathers sought medical assistance following contact with jellyfish. The spatial distribution indicates a greater frequency of stings sustained along the Adriatic coast, while the time analysis shows patterns related to wind direction. Most of the injuries were seen in persons aged between 1 and 10 years and in females. In 24% of cases, injuries were sustained to several parts of the body, while single injuries were mainly to the lower limbs (33%). In 4.9% of cases, there were complications, including one case of anaphylactic shock.

Conclusion: In the light of the significant level of medical assistance provided, there is a need to identify suitable strategies that will guarantee the best response in terms of both prevention and treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0536.2009.01561.xDOI Listing
June 2009

Emergence of unusual human rotavirus strains in Salento, Italy, during 2006-2007.

BMC Infect Dis 2009 Apr 15;9:43. Epub 2009 Apr 15.

Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Salento, Lecce, Italy.

Background: In recent years, rotavirus genotyping by RT-PCR has provided valuable information about the diversity of rotaviruses (RV) circulating throughout the world.The purpose of the present study was to monitor the prevalence of the different G and P genotypes of rotaviruses circulating in Salento and detect any uncommon or novel types.

Methods: During the period from January 2006 to December 2007, a total of 243 rotavirus positive stool samples were collected from children with diarrhoea admitted to four Hospitals in the province of Lecce (Copertino, Galatina, Gallipoli and Tricase).All the specimens were tested for RV by real time PCR and genotyped for VP7 (G-type) and VP4 (P-type) gene by reverse transcription (RT) and multiplex PCR using different type specific primers.

Results: In course of this study we identified 4 common G&P combinations viz. G2P[8], G1P[8], G2P[4] and G9P[8] amongst 59.8% of the typeable rotavirus positives.Rotavirus G2P[8] was recognized as the most widespread genotype during the sentinel-based survey in Salento.The detection of other novel and unusual strains, such as G2P[10], G4P[10], G8P[4], G9P[11] and G10P[8] is noteworthy.Furthermore, a significant number of mixed infections were observed during the survey period but G3P[8] rotaviruses were not detected.

Conclusion: This study highlights the genetic diversity among rotaviruses isolated from children in Salento and the emergence of some novel strains. Therefore, it is highly essential to continuously monitor for these strains so as to assess the impact of vaccines on RV strains circulating in Salento and understand the effect of strain variation on efficacy of presently available vaccines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2334-9-43DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2676288PMC
April 2009

Rotavirus detection in environmental water samples by tangential flow ultrafiltration and RT-nested PCR.

Environ Monit Assess 2010 May 9;164(1-4):199-205. Epub 2009 Apr 9.

Department of Biological and Environmental Science and Technology, Laboratory of Hygiene, University of the Salento, via Prov.le Lecce-Monteroni, 73100, Lecce, Italy.

Environmental monitoring was conducted in Otranto (Italy), from January 2006 to April 2007, to monitor the circulation of rotaviruses in various water matrices (raw and treated sewage, surface waters and seawater) and to identify any correlation with the traditional bacteriological indices (faecal coliforms). The viruses were detected using tangential flow ultrafiltration and reverse transcriptase-nested polymerase chain reaction, whilst detection of feaecal coliform was performed according to standard methods. The results showed widespread viral contamination, particularly in spring, of the matrices tested, with the exception of seawater, which at all times tested negative for the presence of rotaviruses. The typing of the rotavirus strains identified the circulation in the studied area of only two genotypes: G1 (22%) and G2 (78%). The bacterial recoveries confirmed the presence of faecal pollution indicators in all examined samples, sometimes with high values. A very weak correlation was found between the presence of faecal coliforms and the circulation of rotaviruses in the environment. The presence of rotaviruses in the environmental water samples may constitute a potential health risk for the local population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10661-009-0885-xDOI Listing
May 2010

[Evaluation of viral and bacterial contamination of coastal seawater.].

Ig Sanita Pubbl 2005 Nov-Dec;61(6):585-600

The aim of this study was to determine whether testing for faecal contamination of water through evaluation of traditional bacteriological indicators, as per Directive EEC 76/160, effectively correlates with the presence of viruses in water. The study was performed both on water samples and bivalve molluscan shellfish (Mytilus galloprovincialis) with the further objective of evaluating whether mussels could be used as bioindicator organisms for assessing faecal pollution of water. Overall, 23 sea-water samples and the same number of mussels, taken from three sites along the Salento coast in southern Italy, were analysed to detect total and faecal coliforms, faecal streptococci, E. Coli, Salmonella and enteric viruses. The results of the study confirm that viruses and bacteria do not always follow the same trend. In fact, in one of the two water samples which tested positive for viruses, bacteriological indicators of faecal contamination were found to be below the limits established by current legislation and Salmonellae were absent. Similar results were obtained in the sample of mussels which tested positive for viruses. Conflicting results were obtained in the two examined matrices. This study highlights the importance of searching for viruses in the water environment and the possibility of using mussels as bioindicators for monitoring virological quality of coastal sea-waters.
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April 2016

[Evaluation of hydrocarbon-oxidizing bacteria in port water and of health risks related to harbour activities: port of Otranto (Italy)].

Ig Sanita Pubbl 2006 May-Jun;62(3):255-66

Laboratorio di Igiene, Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Biologiche ed Ambientali, Università degli Studi di Lecce, Lecce, Italia.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the water quality of the port of Otranto (Italy), through a combined approach which integrates monitoring of traditional microbiological parameters and studying the dynamics of some autochthonous bacterial communities. The fecal contamination indicators, total coliforms, fecal coliforms, and fecal streptococci were measured to evaluate the sanitary aspects, while the presence of organic matter was considered as a parameter strictly related to dumping. In addition, being the port of Otranto especially exposed to hydrocarbon pollution, hydrocarbon-oxidizing bacteria were evaluated. Fecal contamination indicators were consistently found to be below the threshold values set by the Italian legislative decree N. 470/82 for bathing waters, indicating a good microbiological quality of these waters. A higher density of hydrocarbon-oxidizing bacteria was found at mooring and craft transit areas. This parameter was therefore found to be useful for evaluating port water hydrocarbon pollution.
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February 2007

[Evolution of microbial flora and organic matter in bottled mineral water].

Ig Sanita Pubbl 2002 Jan-Apr;58(1-2):55-62

Sezione di Igiene, Dip di Medicina Interna e Medicina Pubblica, Università di Bari.

A 15-week survey was carried out by the authors in order to detect the total microbial count and the quantity of organic matter in mineral waters bottled in dark glass containers and stored at room temperature. Two different and significant increases were registered at the 2nd and 11th week respectively. A relation between microbial count and organic matter was observed during the period examined.
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March 2004