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Special Issue "New and Re-emerging Pathogens"

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Beatrice Casini
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Translational Research, N.T.M.S., University of Pisa, 56123 Pisa, Italy
Interests: disinfection and sterilization techniques; hospital hygiene; hospital-acquired infection (HAI); antimicrobial resistance; waterborne-pathogens; medical-device reprocessing
Dr. Benedetta Tuvo
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Translational Research, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy
Interests: disinfection and sterilization techniques; hospital hygiene; hospital-acquired infection (HAI); antimicrobial resistance; waterborne-pathogens; medical-device reprocessing

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

New and re-emerging pathogens pose several challenges for diagnosis, treatment, and public health surveillance. The recent appearance of highly pathogenic zoonotic diseases, caused first by SARS-CoV and MERS-Cov and now by SARS-COV2, has highlighted the need to put in place mechanisms to identify the source of the infection and control procedures to stop the chain of infection. The zoonotic spillover represents a global public health burden, which while associated with multiple outbreaks, remains a poorly understood phenomenon. Molecular assays have become an essential diagnostic tool for the sensitive and specific detection of new pathogens. The ability of these viruses to be transmitted both by air and by the fecal–oral route opens new investigation scenarios to assess the resistance and permanence in the various environmental matrices and to define the most effective disinfection methods to be adopted. In airborne transmission, for example, the evaluation of new coating strategies with antimicrobial substances on the surface of facemasks could improve the safety of these devices, striving to integrate elements of biocompatibility and biosustainability.
The re-emergence of waterborne pathogens has been associated with the use of new technologies for the diagnosis and treatment of patients. The introduction of systematic errors due to the incorrect adoption of disinfection and maintenance procedures of complex medical devices can cause debilitating or even fatal infections in patients. As reported in cardiothoracic surgery, invasive Mycobacterium chimaera infections have been associated with the use of water in cardiopulmonary bypass heater-cooler units and biofilm formation which is difficult to eradicate.
This Special Issue welcomes articles from the entire field of environmental hygiene, with the aim of fostering understanding of the causes of the appearance, persistence, and spread of new and re-emerging pathogens, and also to promote the development or the improvement of disinfection and sterilization protocols to be applied in infection control practices.

Prof. Beatrice Casini
Dr. Benedetta Tuvo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • zoonotic diseases
  • SARS-COV-2
  • environmental survival and diffusion
  • disinfection techniques, antimicrobial surface coatings
  • re-emerging waterborne pathogens
  • infection risks associated with new technologies
  • hospital-acquired infection

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Article
First Detection of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 on the Surfaces of Tourist-Recreational Facilities in Italy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(6), 3252; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18063252 - 21 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1077
Abstract
A Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), caused by a new virus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), spreads via direct contact through droplets produced by infected individuals. The transmission of this virus can also occur via indirect contact if objects and surfaces are [...] Read more.
A Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), caused by a new virus called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), spreads via direct contact through droplets produced by infected individuals. The transmission of this virus can also occur via indirect contact if objects and surfaces are contaminated by secretions from individuals with COVID-19 or asymptomatic carriers. Environmental contamination with SARS-CoV-2 is high in hospital settings; on the contrary, surface contamination in non-healthcare settings is still poorly studied. In this study, the presence of SARS-CoV-2 on the surfaces of 20 tourist-recreational facilities was investigated by performing a total of 100 swabs on surfaces, including refrigerator handles, handrails, counters, tables, and bathroom access doors. Six (6%) swabs from four (20%) tourist-recreational facilities tested positive for SARS-CoV-2; the surfaces that were involved were toilet door handles, refrigerator handles, handrails, and bar counters. This study highlights that SARS-CoV-2 is also present in non-healthcare environments; therefore, in order to limit this worrying pandemic, compliance with behavioral rules and the adoption of preventive and protective measures are of fundamental importance not only in healthcare or work environments but also in life environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New and Re-emerging Pathogens)
Article
COVID-19 Emergency Management: From the Reorganization of the Endoscopy Service to the Verification of the Reprocessing Efficacy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(21), 8142; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17218142 - 04 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 932
Abstract
Microbiological surveillance carried out in order to verify the effectiveness of endoscope reprocessing does not include the research of viruses, although endoscopes may be associated with the transmission of viral infections. This paper reports the experience of the University Hospital of Pisa in [...] Read more.
Microbiological surveillance carried out in order to verify the effectiveness of endoscope reprocessing does not include the research of viruses, although endoscopes may be associated with the transmission of viral infections. This paper reports the experience of the University Hospital of Pisa in managing the risk from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) during an endoscopy. A review of the reprocessing procedure was conducted to assess whether improvement actions were needed. To verify the reprocessing efficacy, a virological analysis was conducted both before and after the procedure. Five bronchoscopes and 11 digestive endoscopes (6 gastroscopes and 5 colonoscopes) were sampled. The liquid samples were subjected to concentration through the use of the Macrosep Advance Centrifugal Devices (PALL Life Sciences, Port Washington, NY, USA) and subsequently analyzed using the cobas® SARS-CoV-2 Test (Roche Diagnostics, Basel, Switzerland), together with eSwab 490 CE COPAN swabs (COPAN, Brescia, Italy), which were used to sample surfaces. In accordance with the first ordinance regarding the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency issued by the Tuscany Region in March 2020, a procedure dedicated to the management of the COVID-19 emergency in endoscopic practices was prepared, including the reprocessing of endoscopes. The virological analysis carried out on samples collected from endoscopes after reprocessing gave negative results, as well as on samples collected on the endoscopy column surfaces and the two washer-disinfectors that were dedicated to COVID-19 patients. The improvement in endoscope reprocessing implemented during the COVID-19 emergency was effective in ensuring the absence of SARS-CoV-2, thus reducing the risk of infections after an endoscopy on COVID-19 patients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New and Re-emerging Pathogens)
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Article
A Clustering Approach to Classify Italian Regions and Provinces Based on Prevalence and Trend of SARS-CoV-2 Cases
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5286; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17155286 - 22 Jul 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 932
Abstract
While several efforts have been made to control the epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in Italy, differences between and within regions have made it difficult to plan the phase two management after the national lockdown. Here, we propose a [...] Read more.
While several efforts have been made to control the epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in Italy, differences between and within regions have made it difficult to plan the phase two management after the national lockdown. Here, we propose a simple and immediate clustering approach to categorize Italian regions working on the prevalence and trend of SARS-CoV-2 positive cases prior to the start of phase two on 4 May 2020. Applying both hierarchical and k-means clustering, we identified three regional groups: regions in cluster 1 exhibited higher prevalence and the highest trend of SARS-CoV-2 positive cases; those classified into cluster 2 constituted an intermediate group; those in cluster 3 were regions with a lower prevalence and the lowest trend of SARS-CoV-2 positive cases. At the provincial level, we used a similar approach but working on the prevalence and trend of the total SARS-CoV-2 cases. Notably, provinces in cluster 1 exhibited the highest prevalence and trend of SARS-CoV-2 cases. Provinces in clusters 2 and 3, instead, showed a median prevalence of approximately 11 cases per 10,000 residents. However, provinces in cluster 3 were those with the lowest trend of cases. K-means clustering yielded to an alternative cluster solution in terms of the prevalence and trend of SARS-CoV-2 cases. Our study described a simple and immediate approach to monitor the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic at the regional and provincial level. These findings, at present, offered a snapshot of the epidemic, which could be helpful to outline the hierarchy of needs at the subnational level. However, the integration of our approach with further indicators and characteristics could improve our findings, also allowing the application to different contexts and with additional aims. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New and Re-emerging Pathogens)
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Case Report
Preparedness and Response to the COVID-19 Emergency: Experience from the Teaching Hospital of Pisa, Italy
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(20), 7376; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17207376 - 09 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1339
Abstract
In Italy, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency took hold in Lombardy and Veneto at the end of February 2020 and spread unevenly among the other regions in the following weeks. In Tuscany, the progressive increase of hospitalized COVID-19 patients required the set-up [...] Read more.
In Italy, the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency took hold in Lombardy and Veneto at the end of February 2020 and spread unevenly among the other regions in the following weeks. In Tuscany, the progressive increase of hospitalized COVID-19 patients required the set-up of a regional task force to prepare for and effectively respond to the emergency. In this case report, we aim to describe the key elements that have been identified and implemented in our center, a 1082-bed hospital located in the Pisa district, to rapidly respond to the COVID-19 outbreak in order to guarantee safety of patients and healthcare workers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New and Re-emerging Pathogens)
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