Background: The epidemic dynamics of COVID-19 in the Molise region, central Italy, has dramatically changed from the beginning of May 2020, which was when infections were reported amongst Romani people. The aims of this study were to describe the characteristics of an outbreak that occurred in the Romani community and the interventions implemented for control. Methods: A retrospective analysis of outbreak data was performed to describe the SARS-CoV-2 transmission dynamics. Results: A young Romani woman was the first case reported and epidemiological investigation established a possible link with the funeral of a deceased member of this community. In total, 150 close contacts within 34 family groups in two cities were traced, and 109 (72.7%) Romani individuals were found to be infected by COVID-19. The patient's median age was 31 years, 58% were female, and the highest (20.2%) incidence occurred in the 0–9 years age group. A total of 26 (23.8%) patients developed typical SARS-CoV-2 symptoms, 15 (57.8%) were hospitalized, and 21 (22.1%) had comorbidities [most commonly hypertension (28.6%) and/or coronary heart diseases (23.8%)]. The outbreak was effectively controlled through compulsory quarantine and enhanced active surveillance. Conclusions: This is the first study providing insight into COVID-19 transmission dynamics among a Romani population living in Italy. These findings support general conclusions about the role of crowded social gatherings in SARS-CoV-2 spread, the high communicability among close contacts and household settings, and the impact of asymptomatic carriers. These features are of relevance to certain Romani customs where family gatherings are a fundamental pillar of their lives. Although difficulties emerged in interacting with Romani people related to cultural drivers, beliefs, and lifestyle, the outbreak management was effective and should be considered as a valuable model applicable to similar incidents occurring in minority populations.

A Coronavirus Outbreak Linked to a Funeral Among a Romani Community in Central Italy

Ripabelli G.
Primo
;
Sammarco M. L.
Secondo
;
Cannizzaro F.;Montanaro C.;Ponzio G. V.;Tamburro M.
Ultimo
2021-01-01

Abstract

Background: The epidemic dynamics of COVID-19 in the Molise region, central Italy, has dramatically changed from the beginning of May 2020, which was when infections were reported amongst Romani people. The aims of this study were to describe the characteristics of an outbreak that occurred in the Romani community and the interventions implemented for control. Methods: A retrospective analysis of outbreak data was performed to describe the SARS-CoV-2 transmission dynamics. Results: A young Romani woman was the first case reported and epidemiological investigation established a possible link with the funeral of a deceased member of this community. In total, 150 close contacts within 34 family groups in two cities were traced, and 109 (72.7%) Romani individuals were found to be infected by COVID-19. The patient's median age was 31 years, 58% were female, and the highest (20.2%) incidence occurred in the 0–9 years age group. A total of 26 (23.8%) patients developed typical SARS-CoV-2 symptoms, 15 (57.8%) were hospitalized, and 21 (22.1%) had comorbidities [most commonly hypertension (28.6%) and/or coronary heart diseases (23.8%)]. The outbreak was effectively controlled through compulsory quarantine and enhanced active surveillance. Conclusions: This is the first study providing insight into COVID-19 transmission dynamics among a Romani population living in Italy. These findings support general conclusions about the role of crowded social gatherings in SARS-CoV-2 spread, the high communicability among close contacts and household settings, and the impact of asymptomatic carriers. These features are of relevance to certain Romani customs where family gatherings are a fundamental pillar of their lives. Although difficulties emerged in interacting with Romani people related to cultural drivers, beliefs, and lifestyle, the outbreak management was effective and should be considered as a valuable model applicable to similar incidents occurring in minority populations.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11695/105860
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