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Epidemiol Infect. 2012 Jul;140(7):1193-206. doi: 10.1017/S0950268811002020. Epub 2011 Oct 21.

The burden of self-reported acute gastrointestinal illness in Italy: a retrospective survey, 2008-2009.

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Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Rome, 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.

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