[Prevalence of acid burns among asylum seekers hosted in an initial reception centre as an example of health assessment in a fragile population]



Ricceri F, Sciannameo V, De Michelis F, Perucca L, Mondo L, Pepe RR, Sacerdote C.


Epidemiol Prev. 2018 Mar-Apr;42(2):134-141. doi: 10.19191/EP18.2.P134.042.


OBJECTIVES: to evaluate the prevalence of acid burns among asylum seekers hosted in an initial reception centre and to evaluate if the prevalence is reduced after the introduction of the European Union (EU) regulation No. 29 (14th September 2016) that indirectly reduced the permanence time of the subjects on board of boats. DESIGN: cross-sectional study. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS: 10,627 asylum seekers hosted in the centre for initial reception of Piedmont and Valle d’Aosta Regions (Northern Italy) between June 2016 and May 2017. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: frequencies of health problems and prevalence of second and third grade acid burns identified on arrival. RESULTS: among the asylum seekers coming to the centre, about 25% suffered at least from a mild disease, mainly cutaneous, respiratory, or digestive; 69 acid burns were identified (prevalence: 6.7‰, 95%CI 5.2-8.3), mainly located in the lower limbs and in the glutes. Median time between disembarkation and treatment is 2 days. Prevalence is significantly higher in women compared to men and a not-significant 20% reduction was observed comparing the situation before and after the introduction of the EU regulation No. 29. CONCLUSION: an assessment of the health status of asylum seekers that takes into account more than the identification of the rare life-threatening or infective diseases allows to take prompt action and to invest economical resources in the fields where they are more useful. This would facilitate a good health care for asylum seekers, that is the basis of an efficient functioning of services for integration.

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Link/DOI: 10.19191/EP18.2.P134.042