Communicable disease threats report, 12-18 January 2014, week 3

Surveillance report
Publication series: Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR)
Time period covered: 12 - 18 January 2014

​The ECDC communicable disease threats report is a weekly bulletin intended for epidemiologists and health professionals in the area of communicable disease prevention and control. Summarising information gathered by ECDC through its epidemic intelligence activities regarding communicable disease threats of concern to the European Union, it also provides updates on the global situation and changes in the epidemiology of communicable diseases with potential to affect Europe, including diseases that are the focus of eradication efforts.

Executive summary

he ECDC Communicable Disease Threats Report is a weekly bulletin intended for epidemiologists and health professionals in the area of communicable disease prevention and control. This issue covers the period 12-17 January 2014 and focuses on the following:

Start of the influenza season in Europe 

As ECDC’s Weekly Influenza Surveillance Overview for week 2 of 2014 shows, the season of active influenza transmission has started in Europe. It is not too late to get vaccinated: this is the single most effective way to protect yourself as well as those around you. Watch the ECDC video on seasonal influenza on how to protect from the influenza.

Chikungunya, Caribbean 

Three cases of chikungunya were confirmed in Jost Van Dyke island, one of the four British Virgin Islands, during week 3. Epidemiological data indicate that the outbreak, which started in Saint Martin in 2013, is expanding. An increase of cases on the affected islands (Saint Martin, Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint Barthélemy, French Guyana and the Virgin Islands) is to be expected and the outbreak is likely to continue to spread geographically as stated in the previous ECDC risk assessment. The chikungunya vector (mosquito Aedes albopictus) is endemic in this region where it also transmits the dengue virus.

Zika virus, French Polynesia 

On 30 October 2013, the health authorities in French Polynesia announced an outbreak of Zika virus infection from the Society Islands (cases reported from Bora Bora, Moorea, Raitea, Tahaa and Tahiti), the Marquesas Islands (cases reported from Nuku Hiva) and the Tuamotu Islands (cases reported from Arutua). Health authorities in French Polynesia are reporting a concurrent increase in neurological syndromes. The cause of and possible links with Zika or dengue virus infections are being investigated.

Influenza A(H7N9) China 

During week three, 25 new cases of A(H7N9) infection have been reported from four Chinese provinces: Zhejiang (nine), Guangdong (ten), Jiangsu (one), Shanghai (three) and Fujian (two). This novel avian influenza virus was first detected in March 2013 in Chinese patients. Since then, the outbreak has affected 14 Chinese provinces, causing 181 cases of human infection, including 54 deaths. Most cases have been unlinked and sporadic zoonotic transmission from poultry to humans is the most likely explanation for the outbreak. Sustained person-to-person transmission has not been documented.