[Long-term health effects of earthquakes: outlining the features of an epidemiological surveillance system in Italy]

Recenti Prog Med. 2019 May;110(5):209-211. doi: 10.1701/3163.31441.
[Article in Italian]


The major earthquakes occurred in Italy in the past 10 years (L'Aquila, Emilia and Amatrice) have resulted in 679 death, displacement of more than 120,000 people and economic losses for more than 20 billion euros. In a recent review, we found that earthquakes are associated to multiple health conditions in the long term. Because of Italy's high seismic risk, it is likely that establishing a post-earthquake surveillance system would enable early detection of many deleterious effects and mitigation of damages. In this editorial, we outline the possible features of such a surveillance system. Firstly, it should be cost-effective, capitalising on routinely collected health data. Secondly, it should be coordinated centrally by a compact multidisciplinary team, to enable harmonised procedures and analysis. Thirdly, based on current evidence, it should be able to follow-up populations for least 7 years and capture both physical and mental health diseases. Finally, it should gather sufficient information to enable stratified analysis and identify at-risk subgroups that may need specific interventions.

MeSH terms

  • Earthquakes*
  • Epidemiological Monitoring*
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Time Factors