Publications by authors named "Thelma Xerri"

2 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

The first wave of COVID-19 in Malta; a national cross-sectional study.

PLoS One 2020 15;15(10):e0239389. Epub 2020 Oct 15.

Department of Infectious Diseases, Mater Dei Hospital, Msida, Malta.

Introduction: The COVID-19 pandemic has posed major challenges to all aspects of healthcare. Malta's population density, large proportion of elderly and high prevalence of diabetes and obesity put the country at risk of uncontrolled viral transmission and high mortality. Despite this, Malta achieved low mortality rates compared to figures overseas. The aim of this paper is to identify key factors that contributed to these favorable outcomes.

Methods: This is a retrospective, observational, nationwide study which evaluates outcomes of patients during the first wave of the pandemic in Malta, from the 7th of March to the 24th of April 2020. Data was collected on demographics and mode of transmission. Hospitalization rates to Malta's main general hospital, Mater Dei Hospital, length of in-hospital stay, intensive care unit admissions and 30-day mortality were also analyzed.

Results: There were 447 confirmed cases in total; 19.5% imported, 74.2% related to community transmission and 6.3% nosocomially transmitted. Ninety-three patients (20.8%) were hospitalized, of which 4 were children. Patients with moderate-severe disease received hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin, in line with evidence available at the time. A total of 4 deaths were recorded, resulting in an all-cause mortality of 0.89%. Importantly, all admitted patients with moderate-severe disease survived to 30-day follow up.

Conclusion: Effective public health interventions, widespread testing, remote surveillance of patients in the community and a low threshold for admission are likely to have contributed to these favorable outcomes. Hospital infection control measures were key in preventing significant nosocomial spread. These concepts can potentially be applied to stem future outbreaks of viral diseases. Patients with moderate-severe disease had excellent outcomes with no deaths reported at 30-day follow up.
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October 2020

Complications of measles: a case series.

BMJ Case Rep 2020 Feb 17;13(2). Epub 2020 Feb 17.

Department of Infectious Disease, Mater Dei Hospital, Msida, Malta.

Measles, which was once thought to be a disappearing viral infection due to effective vaccination, has been re-emerging globally, with increasing cases in adolescents and adults. This has been attributed to anti-vaccination campaigning in the early 21st century, which has resulted in a drop in overall herd immunity. In this case series we report three patients with complications secondary to measles who presented to a hospital in Malta in 2019. Through this series, we discuss the range of possible complications caused by the measles virus, ranging from mild viraemic symptoms to multiorgan involvement which could possibly lead to high-dependency care and may even be fatal. We also highlight recent global statistics which reflect the exponential increase in the incidence of measles, with a special focus on Europe. It is emphasised that vaccine education and compliance with the two-dose measles vaccine should be implemented worldwide.
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February 2020