Epidemiology and Infection

Original Papers

Veterinary/Zoonoses

Trends of human brucellosis in Italy, 1998–2010

F. R. MANCINIa1a2, A. BELLAa3, C. GRAZIANIa1, C. MARIANELLIa1, L. MUGHINI-GRASa1a2, P. PASQUALIa1, M. G. POMPAa4, C. RIZZOa3, E. RIZZUTOa4 and L. BUSANIa1 c1

a1 Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, Rome, Italy

a2 Università degli Studi di Bologna, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Bologna, Italy

a3 Istituto Superiore di Sanità, National Center for Epidemiology, Surveillance and Health Promotion, Rome, Italy

a4 Ministero della Salute, Department of Prevention and Communication, Rome, Italy

SUMMARY

We describe the epidemiological trends and spatial distribution of human brucellosis in Italy over 13 years (1998–2010). In the study period 8483 cases were notified in Italy, with a relevant decrease (−89%) from 1998 to 2010. Most cases were notified in southern Italy (Campania, Apulia, Calabria, Sicily). In these regions we observed relevant differences in the risk of brucellosis at province level. Cases were distributed with a seasonal pattern, male patients represented 60% of the cases and no significant differences were observed between age groups. We modelled the underreporting rate that ranged between 2 and 21 (average 12·5). According to our estimates the true number of cases would have ranged from 41 821 to 155 324 providing a far more severe picture of human brucellosis in Italy than the one provided by the surveillance system.

(Received May 20 2013)

(Revised July 12 2013)

(Accepted August 16 2013)

(Online publication September 18 2013)

Key words

  • Brucellosis;
  • epidemiology;
  • public health;
  • zoonoses

Correspondence

c1 Author for correspondence: Dr L. Busani, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Department of Veterinary Public Health and Food Safety, Viale Regina, Elena 299, 00161, Rome, Italy. (Email: luca.busani@iss.it)

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