Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 616–623 | Cite as

Chagas Disease in a Non-endemic Country: A Multidisciplinary Research, Bologna, Italy

  • Chiara Di Girolamo
  • Giulia Martelli
  • Anna Ciannameo
  • Caterina Vocale
  • Marco Fini
  • Angelo Stefanini
  • Maria Paola Landini
  • Pierluigi Viale
  • Gabriella Verucchi
Original Research


Global processes have brought about a substantial change in the epidemiological landscape of Chagas disease, spreading it to non-endemic areas. Italy is the second country in Europe in terms of Latin American migrants and expected infection rate. Given that scenario, the Bologna University Teaching Hospital undertaken a study aimed at providing preliminary data on the prevalence and investigating the knowledge and the subjective perceptions of Chagas disease, migration pathways and other relevant ill-health experiences. A cross-sectional study was undertaken in association with an ethnographic research. Between November 2010 and May 2013 Chagas disease testing was offered to people who attended the hospital and data were collected to investigate the broader socio-demographic and cultural factors. 151 individuals were screened for anti T. cruzi antibodies; 12 of them, 10 Bolivians and 2 Argentinians, were seroreactive, resulting in an overall prevalence of 7.94 %. Both the quantitative and the qualitative analysis revealed a degree of heterogeneity in terms of knowledge and perceptions of the disease as well as of migration pathways. The results are comparable with those reported by previous studies with similar characteristics and highlight the relevance of such public health issue in a non-endemic context. Moreover, the interdisciplinary approach has greatly helped to unveil the complex social and cultural implications of Chagas disease, to explain the subjective ill-health experiences, and to understand the ways in which the broader socio-economic and cultural context affects an intervention and its potential for success or failure.


Chagas disease International migration Italy Multidisciplinary 



The authors wish to thank for their contributions to the research Prof. Francesco Taroni, Prof. Vittorio Sambri, Brigida Lilia Marta, Francesca Cacciatore, Marianna Parisotto, Brunella Guerra, Massimo Masi, Giampaolo Ricci, Francesca Cervi, Noemi Bazzanini, Margherita Digaetano, Prof. Andrea Pession, and Prof. Maurizio Zompatori.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they do not have any conflict of interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chiara Di Girolamo
    • 1
  • Giulia Martelli
    • 2
  • Anna Ciannameo
    • 1
  • Caterina Vocale
    • 3
  • Marco Fini
    • 4
  • Angelo Stefanini
    • 1
  • Maria Paola Landini
    • 3
  • Pierluigi Viale
    • 2
  • Gabriella Verucchi
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for International Health, Department of Medical and Surgical SciencesAlma Mater Studiorum University of BolognaBolognaItaly
  2. 2.Infectious Diseases Unit, Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, S. Orsola-Malpighi HospitalAlma Mater Studiorum University of BolognaBolognaItaly
  3. 3.Microbiology Unit, Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine, S. Orsola-Malpighi HospitalAlma Mater Studiorum University of BolognaBolognaItaly
  4. 4.Cardiology UnitS. Orsola-Malpighi HospitalBolognaItaly

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