Four-year-old girl dies of malaria in northern Italy

The Local Italy
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Four-year-old girl dies of malaria in northern Italy
File photo of an Asian Tiger mosquito. Photo: Yuri Cortez/AFP

A four-year-old girl has died of malaria in hospital in Brescia, near Milan, Italian media reported on Tuesday.


It is unclear how the girl contracted the disease; her family, from Trentino in the far north of Italy, had not recently been abroad.

According to local paper La Voce del Trentino, the girl had never travelled outside the country and the family had spent their summer in the nearby Veneto region of Italy. 

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After being treated first at a hospital in her hometown, the girl was transferred to Brescia's Civil Hospital after she lost consciousness, where there are specialists in treating tropical diseases.

An investigation has been opened in order to identify how the child caught the disease, and the hospital's paediatric department has been disinfected as a precautionary measure.

In December, the Health Ministry shared figures showing that over 3,500 cases of malaria had been reported in the previous five years, though in all but seven instances, the disease was imported rather than indigenous, meaning Italians who travelled to tropical and sub-tropical countries were at highest risk.

Italy was officially declared free of malaria in 1970, but environmental organization Legambiente warned in 2007 that it could make a comeback due to the effects of climate change.

In particular, warmer temperatures have brought mosquito species including the Asian Tiger mosquito, known to transmit several diseases, to Europe. 

In recent years, the first EU cases of West Nile fever were detected in Italy as well as Romania, while Ravenna in the north of the country experienced an outbreak of Chikungunya fever in 2007. was also detected in Italy. Both diseases are known to be transmitted by Asian Tiger mosquitoes. 

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