ECDC Communicable disease threats report, Week 7, 8-14 February 2015

surveillance report
Publication series: Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR)
Time period covered: 8 - 14 February 2015

​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 (CDTR) is a weekly bulletin for epidemiologists and health professionals about active public health threats. This issue covers the period 1 to 7 February 2015, and includes updates on botulism in people who inject drugs, monitoring the 2014–2015 influenza season and Ebola virus disease in West Africa.

Botulism in people who inject drugs – Norway and the UK

Two new suspected cases of clinical wound botulism in people who inject drugs in the Oslo area were reported by Norway this week. Since December 2014, 13 cases of botulism have been reported in Norway (6) and Scotland (7) affecting people who inject drugs. These cases raise the possibility that a batch of contaminated heroin is in circulation.

Seasonal influenza 2014-2015

30 countries reported increasing influenza activity this week. The proportion of influenza virus-positive sentinel specimens reached 49% this week, the same level as in the previous week. Excess all-cause mortality among the elderly concomitant with increased influenza activity and A(H3N2) viruses predominating, has been observed in Belgium, France, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom during recent weeks.

ECDC and WHO produce the Flu News Europe bulletin weekly.

Ebola virus disease in West Africa

Weekly case incidence has increased in all three countries for the first time this year according to WHO. There were 124 new confirmed cases reported in the week to 1 February: 39 in Guinea, 5 in Liberia, and 80 in Sierra Leone. According to WHO, up to 5 February 2015 there have been 22 523 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) related to the outbreak in West Africa, including 8 994 deaths.

ECDC published an updated rapid risk assessment on 4 February 2015.