Communicable disease threats report, 26 February - 3 March 2012, week 9

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

During Week 9, 26 February to 3 March 2012, ECDC monitored two public health threats across the European Union (EU).

Latvia reported three cases of measles in the past week, adding to the ongoing outbreaks in several areas in the United Kingdom and in Alicante and Valencia, Spain which were reported in the previous week’s Communicable disease threats report (CDTR).

The number of cases related to the outbreak in the anthroposophic community in Järna, Sweden rose to thirteen.

The Ukraine, an EU neighbouring country and co-host to this summer’s UEFA European Football Championship (Euro 2012), reported a further 200 cases of measles last week bring the total number to almost 4 000 since the beginning of 2012.

Measles transmission follows a seasonal pattern and last year’s outbreaks peaked in May 2011 then declining over the course of the year until November. The signals are that the new measles transmission season in Europe has started. The countries in the WHO European Region, which includes all EU Member States, have committed to eliminate measles and rubella transmission by 2015.

In week 8/2012, medium or high intensity influenza activity was reported by 17 countries and increasing trends by 13 countries , the same as the week before. Two countries, Bulgaria and Italy, have reported decreasing trends for three consecutive weeks and so are the first two countries to have peaked in Europe this season.

A published analysis by ECDC and France, Ireland, Spain and the UK of severe influenza cases found that while the 2011/12 season has been dominated by influenza A(H3), a greater relative proportion of influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses were reported in hospitalised cases in those countries.

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