A. Traversa1, D.M. Bianchi1, S. Gallina1, G. Macori1, F. Fagioli2, E. Barisone2, B. Griglio3, S. Squadrone1, M.C. Abete1, L. Decastelli1

1Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale Piemonte Liguria e Valle d'Aosta (ITALY)
2AOU Città della Salute e della Scienza di Torino - Ospedale Infantile Regina Margherita (ITALY)
3Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca e Documentazione per la Sicurezza Alimentare – Regione Piemonte - ASL TO 5 (ITALY)
Food and pets are potential routes of transmission of disease for humans. Food-borne diseases and pet-associated zoonoses can occur in any individual and people with immunocompromised conditions as well as young, older and pregnant women have the greatest risk of disease. Moreover, children often have suboptimal hygiene practices or higher-risk animal contacts that further increase risk. For these reasons good hygiene practices have a key role for children with weakened immune system.

We present a kid-friendly guideline booklet we edited, that collects advices and rules for immunocompromised children. This booklet was created to provide to the families with children admitted in Turin Pediatric Hospital a tool that ensure children’s safety during immunosuppressive treatment. The booklet is set out as a pocketsize manual that can be personalized by little patients inserting their name, writing down their thoughts and questions in the “notes pages”.

We present two different sections, the first about common biological hazards and chemical contaminants in food and some tips for food safety, the second about common hazards in animals and some tips for keeping domestic animals and some measures to pursue for preventing diseases. In fact, improper food storage or food handling are responsible for food-borne diseases caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi. To reduce the exposure to the different chemical hazards is good to follow a varied diet in order to reduce the accumulation of harmful substances that may be present in food as a huge variety of xenobiotics, or substances foreign to a biological organism.

We provide a specific tool for parents to better understand the low-risk-and-high-risk concept for foods developed by our working group: food safer to eat and those to avoid are reported near the “smile” and “prohibition” icon respectively. For example, children with weakened immune systems are able to prevent illnesses caused by organisms or chemicals, avoiding foods and drinks identified as high risk with the prohibition icon in the recommendation section.

In food safety section we also inserted some advices about ethnic food consumption, in order to address information to children admitted to hospitals that are often belonging to ethnic groups such as Latino American, North African and Asian cuisines.

Finally, we reported in the guideline booklet some rules to follow to help families understanding which behaviours and rules may reduce pet-associated disease risks for immunocompromised children.

Good hygienic practices to contain food-borne and pet-associated disease risk are an unexplored fields, the improvement of knowledge through a booklet is an important education strategy addressed to families with immunocompromised children.