a1 Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, Italy
a2 Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie, Padua, Italy
A retrospective telephone survey (n=3490) was conducted in Italy between 2008 and 2009 to estimate the occurrence of self-reported acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI) and to describe subjects' recourse to healthcare, using a symptom-based case definition. Three hundred and ten AGI cases were identified. The annual incidence rate was 1·08 episodes/person-year (95% confidence interval 0·90–1·14). The proportion of subjects consulting physicians was 39·5% while only 0·3% submitted a specimen for laboratory investigation. Risk factors for AGI and medical care-seeking were identified using logistic regression analysis. Females, children and young adults had a significantly higher incidence rate of AGI. Factors associated with medical care-seeking were age <10 years, presence of fever, diarrhoea, and duration of illness >3 days. Our results provide a relevant contribution towards estimating the global burden of AGI using standard methods that ensure a good level of comparability with other studies.
(Accepted September 07 2011)
(Online publication October 21 2011)