Sergio Perini, ATS Health protection agency of Brescia, Basic Medical Service, ISDE International Society of Doctors for the Environment Brescia, Italy
In September 2018, a serious epidemic of Legionella Pneumophila serotypes 1-2-14, diagnosed by the Istituto Superiore Sanità (ISS), occurred in the low plain south of Brescia. This resulted in a considerable number of hospitalizations in the hospitals of the ATS of Brescia and Valpadana (Mantua) with high mortality rate. It was an anomalous situation both for the spread and for the Legionella serotypes which alarmed the Istituto Superiore Sanità and the local health structures. This epidemic is an expressions of the malaise of the geographical area in question caused by the impact of various environmental degradations. Some environmental criticalities: 1-the low water flow of the Chiese river in the summer of 2018 due to the exploitation of water by intensive agriculture and the presence of 22 hydroelectric power plants along its course. 2-the presence of numerous industrial cooling towers with a lack of mapping of the same towers by the political bodies (Region and Municipalities). 3-the abnormal disposal of sludge on the countryside surrounding the agricultural area adjacent to the river bed of the Chiese river as a consequence of the enormous production of livestock waste by pig, cattle and chicken farms in the same area. 4-In the lower Brescia plain there are numerous disposal companies that receive sewage sludge from 15 regions of Italy and also from abroad. 5-different and numerous types of landfills in the municipalities of Montichiari, Rezzato, Ghedi, Calcinato and Bedizzole filled with 12 million cubic meters of toxic-harmful waste. 6- the Lombardy region allows an excessive number of CERs (Catalog European Waste). It concludes by emphasizing how everyone, citizens and institutions, have a great responsibility in the management of the territory and a change of direction is hoped for an economy that has reached limits that it can no longer tolerate. This calls the various responsibilities of Politics, Public Health, the industrial and agricultural world in the management of a territory that continues to send signs of suffering and which is reflected on the health of men, animals and the plant world.