Communicable disease threats report, 8-14 December 2013, week 50

surveillance report
Publication series: Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR)
Time period covered: 8 - 14 December 2013

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 of 8-14 December 2013 and focuses on the following:

Seasonal Influenza

During week 49/2013, all 29 reporting countries experienced low intensity influenza activity. The percentage of sentinel specimens testing positive for influenza is increasing in some countries, possibly indicating the start of the epidemic period in those countries.

 Chikungunya in Saint Martin, The Caribbean: ECDC Rapid Risk Assessment

On 6 December 2013, France reported two laboratory confirmed cases of chikungunya of autochthonous transmission in the French part of the Caribbean island of Saint Martin. On 10 December, WHO reported two confirmed, four probable and twenty suspected cases of chikungunya infection on the island of Saint Martin. This is the first documented autochthonous transmission of chikungunya virus in the Americas, on the Caribbean island Saint Martin.Saint Martin is a popular travel destination for EU residents and increased travel can be expected during the Christmas holidays. Therefore, travel related cases of chikungunya, as well as of dengue, returning from the island Saint Martin can be expected. ECDC has produced a detailed risk assessment.

Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

Between 5 and 13 December 2013, two new cases were reported from Saudi Arabia. The first case is a 26 years old asymptomatic health care worker from Riyadh. The second case is 51 years old from Jawf region with several comorbidities. As of 13 December 2013, 165 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV have been reported by local health authorities worldwide, including 71 deaths.