New Hospital of Saint John of God
With the sale of property belonging to the Brothers of San
Giovanni di Dio, the grounds of the farm Torre Galli were purchased
Inaugurated on March 8, 1982, The New Hospital of San Giovanni
di Dio is a general hospital with over 300 beds.
Immunology and Allergology Center
Nuovo Ospedale San Giovanni di Dio, Via di Torregalli
Azienda U.S.L. 10 - Florence Italy Tel. 055/7192304 Fax:7192502
Primario: Prof. R.Zerboni
Since 1979 in the Immunology and Allergology Unit
at the New San Giovanni di Dio Hospital in Florence (Italy) we
have been dealing with the diagnosis and therapy of allergic diseases.
About 20,000 patient have been visited and evaluated and many
of them have been followed up for several years.
Our group includes 4 physicians specialized in Allergology
and Clinical Immunology, 2 biologists, 4 nurses and 4 laboratory
With regard to allergology, we perform in vivo and
in vitro tests for respiratory diseases (asthma, rhinitis and
conjunctivitis), cutaneous diseases (urticaria and contact dermatitis),
insect allergy and drug allergy.
With regard to immunology, we are dealing in particular
with the diagnosis of the HIV infection and of the autoimmune
We would like to stress the contribution of our laboratory
of allergology-immunology and microbiology, in particular in relation
to the assay of serum specific IgE and IgG, basophil histamine
release, autoantibodies detection, assay for HIV antibodies (ELISA
and Western blotting) and antigen and evaluation of CD4+ and CD8+
lymphocytes by flow cytometry. Aerobiology, drug allergy and insect
allergy are in particular our main research lines (N° 111
papers and communications at international and national congresses).
The aerobiological monitoring of the atmosphere in
Florence has been carried out in our Center since 1985. Pollen
sampling was performed by means of a seven days recording volumetric
pollen trap in accordance with international standards. It is
placed on the roof of our hospital. Data about temperature, relative
humidity, rain, wind direction and speed were supplied by the
meteorological station placed next to the pollen trap. Moreover
our Center is a regional node, acting as reference point for data
collected by all the monitoring centers of Tuscany. All data are
transmitted to the national data bank and to the European Aeroallergen
Network. This initiative is helpful in improving national pollen
forecast for the benefit of hayfever sufferers.
In order to achieve finer predictivity and simplify
diagnosis, we integrated this study with phytogeographical and
phenological investigations: our studies provided a map of the
peculiar allergenic flora in the Florence area (in press).
Diagnosis, prevention and therapy of Hymenoptera sting
reactions have been undertaken in 1984; 1,114 patients have been
visited and evaluated and 293 of them have been treated with venom
immunotherapy in our Center. In particular we are investigating
the allergy to Polistes venom (paper wasp) by means of skin tests,
serum specific IgE, RAST-inhibition and Western Blotting; in particular
we are interested in the comparison of venoms between American
and European species, because only the former are commercially
available for diagnosis and therapy.
With regard to insects others than Hymenoptera we
were able to demonstrate IgE-mediated reactions to the bite of
horsefly and deerfly (genera Tabanus and Chrysops) and pigeon
tick (Argas reflexus). Allergy to the pigeon tick bite may well
be more frequent than reported, owing to the little knowledge
of this phenomenon, and it can be responsible of severe systemic
reactions (glottis oedema, shock).
With regard to drug allergy, since 1988 we evaluated
about 3,000 patients by means of skin and serologic tests and
test doses. In particular we got a deeper knowledge of the methods
for the detection of serum IgE to drugs (betalactams and other
antibiotics, sulfonamides, pyrazolones) using the epoxy-activated
sepharose as solid phase. It is a time consuming and not easy
to perform method, but it let us to detect serum IgE to several
drugs for whom the commercial methods are totally insensitive
(for example: pyrazolones, cotrimoxazole and other antibiotics).
Regarding this last field, we are interested in patients
with reactions to drugs suggesting an IgE-mediated mechanism (urticaria
and angioedema with or without shock), not very old (some months)
and with a clear relationship between drug intake and reaction.
(Last updated: Tuesday 26 September 1995)
Copyright © 1995 by Associazione San Giovanni di Dio