Respiratory syndrome and respiratory tract infections in foreign-born and national travelers hospitalized with fever in Italy

Alberto Matteelli, Anna Beltrame, Nuccia Saleri, Zeno Bisoffi, Roberto Allegri, Alberto Volonterio, Massimo Giola, Paolo Perini, Laura Galimberti, Raffaella Visonà, Alessandra Donisi, Gloria Giani, Alfredo Scalzini, Giovanni Gaiera, Laura Ravasio, Anna C C Carvalho, Maurizio Gulletta, Silvio Caligaris, Cecilia Pizzocolo, Stefania MaroccoGian Pietro Cadeo, Paolo Grossi, Anna Orani, Mauro Moroni, Giuliano Rizzardini, Francesco Alberici, Marco Vigevani, Giorgio Perboni, Adriano Lazzarin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: We measured frequency and epidemiologic, clinical, and hematochemical variables associated with respiratory tract infections (RTIs) in foreign-born and national patients hospitalized with fever with a history of international travel, and compared the final diagnosis of RTI with the presence of a respiratory syndrome (RS) at presentation. Methods: A prospective, multicenter, observational study was conducted at tertiary care hospitals in Northern Italy from September 1998 to December 2000. Results: A final diagnosis of RTI was obtained in 40 cases (7.8%), 27 (67.5%) with lower RTI and 13 (32.5%) with upper RTI. The most common RTIs were pneumonia (35%) and pulmonary tuberculosis (15%). A white blood cell count ≥ 10,000 and an erythrocyte sedimentation rate ≥ 20 mm/h were independently associated with a final diagnosis of RTI; onset of symptoms at ≥ 16 days and ≥ 75% neutrophils were independently associated with lower RTI. An RS was identified in 51 (9.9%) of 515 travelers. Sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values of a diagnosis of RS for a final diagnosis of RTI were 67.5%, 94.9%, 52.9%, and 97.2%, respectively. Conclusions: Pneumonia and pulmonary tuberculosis were frequent among foreign-born and national travelers with fever admitted to a tertiary care hospital. Half of the pneumonia cases did not present with an RS at first clinical examination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-196
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Travel Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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