A four-year-old girl who died of malaria in Italy in September caught the deadly disease in hospital, the health ministry said on Saturday, ruling out the possibility she was bitten by an infected mosquito.
Sofia Zago, who had not travelled to any at-risk countries, fell ill after a stay in a hospital in the northern city of Trento that was treating a family that had contracted malaria during a trip to Burkina Faso.
“We can categorically rule out the malaria having been caught outside the hospital,” Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin said on the sidelines of a G7 health summit in Milan.
The Santa Chiara hospital insisted it only uses disposable, single-use needles, leading experts to wonder whether the child could have contracted the disease via a mosquito bite on the Italian coast where she holidayed.
Malaria was rife in Italy in the 19th century but eradicated by 1962, and the idea it may be reappearing — and in the colder parts of the country no less — had spooked Italians.
Meanwhile, they live in our midst here.