Communicable disease threats report 22-28 September 2013, week 39

Surveillance report
Publication series: Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR)

​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. Some of the diseases included in this week’s report are:

West Nile fever

The current West Nile fever (WNF) season is progressing comparable to previous years both within the European Union (EU) and its neighbouring countries. In the week up till 27 September 2013, 20 new cases were detected in the EU: 3 from Greece, 13 from Italy and 4 from Romania. Serbia reported 28 new cases. This brings the number of reported cases to 187 in the EU and 464 in EU neighbouring countries since the beginning of the 2013 transmission season. See also the latest update on ECDC’s weekly West Nile fever maps.

Poliovirus

Wild-type polio virus 1 (WPV1) has been isolated in sewage and in the faeces of asymptomatic carriers in Israel in samples collected from 3 February to 25 August 2013. However, no cases of paralytic polio have been reported in Israel, the West Bank or Gaza. During the week leading up to 26 September 2013, no new positive poliovirus samples have been detected.

ECDC’s risk assessment on the situation concludes that there is the possibility that poliovirus may be imported and re-established in the countries of the EU and European Economic Area. 

Measles

The transmission season for measles persists in Europe with on-going outbreaks in the Netherlands and Germany. Dutch authorities have reported 1 540 measles cases since May 2013. The actual number of cases is estimated to be much higher. According to the German Federal Ministry of Health, the number of reported measles cases has been nearly ten times higher than the complete number of infections in 2012. As of 11 September 2013, 1 520 cases have been notified, most of them reported in Bavaria, followed by Berlin and North Rhine and Westphalia.
The target year for measles elimination in Europe is 2015. The current outbreaks suggest that endemic measles transmission continues in many EU Member States and the prospect of achieving the 2015 objective is diminishing. During the period August 2012-July 2013, 11 of the 30 EU/EEA countries met the elimination target of less than one case of measles per million population.In the EU neighbouring countries, measles outbreaks are on-going in the Russian federation, Turkey and Georgia.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

Between 19 and 26 September 2013, 3 new MERS-CoV cases, including 2 deaths, have been reported by the national health authorities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed a death of a previously reported patient from Qatar. Two secondary cases in Italy are now re-classified as probable cases. WHO’s Emergency Committee has concluded on 25 September 2013 that "conditions for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern have not at present been met".