Italian health officials reported this week four Plasmodium falciparum malaria cases in the Apulia region in southern Italy. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the cases are 21 to 37-year-old men, originally from Africa. All stated that they had been in Italy for more than three months. Dates for onset of symptoms ranged from 20 to 27 September 2017. The cases are agricultural workers in Ginosa and Castellaneta.
Health officials call this “unusual” to be seen in Italy and the fact that all the men had been in the country for three months suggests an indigenous transmission in Italy resulting from either a ‘suitcase’ event or an introduced malaria event.
Malaria vectors such as Anopheles labranchiae and Anopheles superpictus are present in Italy.
Italian authorities are investigating this event and ECDC is continuing to monitor the event through epidemic intelligence activities.
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