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

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

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

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. 

READ ALSO: 2,000-year-old teeth show malaria existed in the Roman Empire

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. 

READ ALSO: Scientists have found a new antibiotic that could fight drug-resistant bacteria in ItalyA new antibiotic that could fight drug-resistant bacteria has been found in ItalyFile photo of laboratory workers: pressmaster/Depositphotos



Covid-19: Average life expectancy in Italy dropped by 1.2 years in 2020

Coronavirus cut average life expectancy in Italy by 1.2 years in 2020, and by more than four years in parts of the country hit hardest by the pandemic, official statistics showed on Monday.

Covid-19: Average life expectancy in Italy dropped by 1.2 years in 2020
A cemetery in Bergamo, one of the parts of Italy which has suffered the highest death toll during the coronavirus crisis. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Life expectancy at birth last year stood at 82 years, compared to 83.2 years in 2019, the Istat national statistics office said in a new release.

“In 2020, the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting sharp increase in mortality abruptly interrupted the growth in life expectancy at birth that had characterised the trend until 2019,” it said in a statement.

For many years Italy has boasted one of the longest life expectancies in Europe. But with the spread of the coronavirus, its ageing population was especially vulnerable to falling sick.

Italy has recorded close to 130,000 deaths from Covid-19 in total, which have mainly been among the elderly.


The drop in life expectancy was even steeper in some regions such as the northern provinces of Bergamo and Cremona, the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in early 2020.

Men lost on average 4.3 and 4.5 years while women lost 3.2 years and 2.9 years in these areas.

More than 129,500 people with coronavirus have died in Italy, the majority in the northern regions where 36 percent of the population lives.

According to Istat, the pandemic has wiped out many of the gains made year-on-year since 2010, when Italy’s average life expectancy was 81.7.

Italy was the first European country to face a major outbreak of Covid-19 and for a time the region of Lombardy, the nation’s economic heart, became the epicentre of the global pandemic.

Quality of life has also been impacted in Italy, particulary due to the economic repercussions of the crisis.

The government has since rolled out a vaccination programme that, as of Monday evening, had almost 72 percent of the population over 12 fully immunised.

Italy has set a target of vaccinating at least 80 percent of the population by the end of September.