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 in 1967.

Inaugurated on March 8, 1982, The New Hospital of San Giovanni di Dio is a general hospital with over 300 beds.

Within the hospital is a University Clinic for Infectious Diseases

The New Hospital of Saint John of God

Immunology and Allergology Center

Nuovo Ospedale San Giovanni di Dio, Via di Torregalli 3, 50143
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 technicians.

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 diseases.

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