I have the pleasure to write this preface in late February 2022, just days after two years of pandemic in Italy and while the last wave sustained by the omicron variant shows a positive declining trajectory with a transmission rate (Rt) constantly below the epidemic threshold. This final work of Cesare Miani and Paolo Petrone in developing the topic of the otorhinolaryngologists’ role in the management of epidemic respiratory human infectious diseases is very relevant and summarises current knowledge and evidence in this specific field. The papers included in this Supplement of Acta Otorhinolaryngologica Italica, written and presented for the 2022 National Congress of the Italian Society of Otolaryngology and Cervical-Facial Surgery (SIOeChCf), propose an overview of what has been implemented in our healthcare services by otolaryngology specialists and more generally by head and neck surgeons at the national and international level in this difficult period.
The salient points that stand out most to my reading are the ability of specialists from this area to quickly adapt their activity according to a new scenario characterized by strict rules on infection prevention, and provide support to both patients and colleagues with their specialistic skills.
The papers presented herein, in an interesting mix of original articles and reviews, take into account the important clinical issues such as the awareness of all specialists regarding infectious risk, as well as the clinical symptomatology, management and treatment of the main COVID-related and non-related diseases during a pandemic. At the same time, the importance of further developing and adopting the indispensable personal protective equipment necessary to maintain efficient and safe clinical practice, in situations where the doctor-patient relationship tends to become difficult and sporadic, is widely emphasized.
All these issues fit perfectly with the mission of a universal National Health Service that, even if under heavy stress, continues to guarantee effective answers to the health needs of persons and communities. An element that still distinguishes Italy within the international landscape.
If on the one hand the prevention and control of infectious diseases through vaccination, surveillance, non-pharmaceutical interventions, monitoring and control of environmental risks, and safety of the workplace has allowed to for the basis for resilience and restarting social and health activities, on the other hand it is relevant to mention the role of scientific societies - such as the SIOeChCf with its members – which through their efforts, have kept together the spirit to be able to treat patients with effectiveness and efficiency starting from more severe diseases.
Thanks to the quick decrease of the omicron wave, we are now approaching a new phase of the pandemic and our efforts should be concentrated on guaranteeing full organizational and managerial operation focused on quality and safety and, at the same time, special attention to equity and to the most fragile part of our population.
The pandemic, and also this report, remind us that it is essential to invest in scientific and technological research, but also to have the ability to timely translate them into useful tools and services. Our country is rich in all these skills and we should cooperate together to strengthen and make the coordinated links among all these players systematically.
Vaccination campaigns, population consensus on non-pharmaceutical interventions and effective health service have been our pillars in managing this pandemic. But we should always remember that all these essential aspects can be successfully implemented only through qualified and motivated health professionals.
This is the reason why I want to acknowledge and thank all the SIOeChCF members for their competence, passion, and extraordinary personal efforts in dealing with this pandemic in the last two years.
In the end, we should be grateful to Cesare Miani, Paolo Petrone, and all the authors for making this supplement available to all of us. I hope it will be welcomed with enthusiasm and further desire to grow by the new generation of otolaryngologists, both as future clinical managers and as technical experts in the field.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
© Società Italiana di Otorinolaringoiatria e chirurgia cervico facciale , 2022
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