Communicable disease threats report, 13-19 July 2014, week 29

Surveillance report
Publication series: Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR)
Time period covered: 13-19 July 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

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.

​This issue covers the period from 13 July to 19 July 2014 and includes updates on:

Outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in West Africa
 
In the past week, the affected countries have continued to report cases and fatalities. The largest increase in cases since the previous update was in Sierra Leone, followed by Liberia and Guinea. As of 14 July 2014, the cumulative number of cases attributed to EVD in the three countries stands at 982, including 613 deaths.
 
On 16 July 2014, WHO established a sub-regional outbreak coordination centre in Conakry, Guinea, as a follow-up action to the Emergency Ministerial meeting that was held by WHO in Accra, Ghana, 2-3 July. The centre will consolidate and harmonise the technical support to West African countries and will assist in resource mobilisation.
 
The outbreak has been affecting Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since December 2013. While this is the largest EVD outbreak reported, the risk of infection for travellers is considered very low.
 
ECDC published a risk assessment on 9 June and an epidemiological update on 17 July.

Chikungunya in the Caribbean
 
Most of the areas previously involved continue to report increasing case numbers. The situation is particularly severe on the island of Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic) and in Guadeloupe. Both Costa Rica and Venezuela have reported confirmed cases, but it is not clear if they are imported or autochthonous. The United States reported the first locally acquired cases of chikungunya in Florida, one in Miami-Dade County, the other in Palm Beach County. According to media reports, Puerto Rico health officials declared a chikungunya epidemic, due to a rapidly rising number of cases there.
 
An outbreak of chikungunya virus infection has been ongoing in the Caribbean since December 2013. There have been more than 350 000 probable and confirmed cases in the region with at least 21 fatalities reported. Many countries are reporting imported cases from the affected areas.
 
ECDC published a risk assessment on 25 June and an epidemiological update on 30 June.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus, MERS-CoV
 
One additional case has been reported by Saudi Arabia. Two previously reported patients have died, as well as the case reported in April from Greece.
 
Since April 2012, 852 cases of MERS-CoV infection have been reported by local health authorities worldwide, including 327 deaths. To date, all cases have either occurred in the Middle East, have direct links to a primary case infected in the Middle East, or have returned from this area. The source of the virus remains unknown but the pattern of transmission points towards an animal reservoir in the Middle East from which humans sporadically become infected through zoonotic transmission.
 
ECDC published a risk assessment on 31 May and an epidemiological update on 2 July 2014.

Commonwealth Games
 
ECDC is enhancing its monitoring activities during the Commonwealth Games. The games will take place from 23 July to 3 August 2014 in the surrounding areas of Glasgow, Edinburgh and near Carnoustie on Scotland’s east coast. Around 1 million spectators and 6 500 athletes and officials are expected to attend the event. So far, no event of public health significance to the games has been detected.