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Illegal immigration: the puzzling role of several risk factors for rhabdomyolysis
  1. Laura Colavita,
  2. Valeria Dipasquale,
  3. Giovanni Stroscio,
  4. Carmelo Salpietro
  1. Department of Human Pathology in Adulthood and Childhood ‘G. Barresi’, University Hospital of Messina, Messina, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Valeria Dipasquale, dipasquale.valeria{at}


A 14-year-old boy presented with low-grade fever, widespread myalgia and difficulty in walking and standing 2 days after the undocumented trip which brought him from western Africa to Italy. His serum creatine phosphokinase was markedly elevated. He was diagnosed with rhabdomyolysis and was volume-restored with normal saline and bicarbonate-containing fluid. Anamnesis revealed illegal, not well-specified, forced consumption in his fatherland, and very bad conditions of the trip (prolonged immobility, dehydration, hypothermia). Workup included a respiratory microbiological panel which was positive for Chlamydia pneumoniae. Other microbiological agents were excluded. After 3 weeks, he recovered complete motility. Undocumented immigrants may present several risk factors for rhabdomyolysis that give to this group of individuals a higher risk of developing this disorder.

  • Global Health
  • Toxicology
  • Migration And Health
  • Fluid Electrolyte And Acid-base Disturbances
  • Musculoskeletal And Joint Disorders

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  • Contributors LC conceptualised and designed the study and collected data; VD and GS carried out the initial analyses and drafted the article; CS reviewed the article and revised it critically for important intellectual content. All authors approved the final version as submitted and agree to be accountable for all aspects of the work.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Legal guardian consent obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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