Communicable disease threats, 22-28 July 2012, week 30

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

In addition to the five notified cases of anthrax in people who inject drugs since June 2012, a new case was reported from Scotland, UK, on 25 July 2012. Investigations are on-going. In 2009/2010, an outbreak of anthrax involved 124 injecting drug users in the UK (England and Scotland with five and 119 cases respectively) and Germany (three cases). At this point, the conclusions of the ECDC/EMCDDA rapid risk assessment remain valid as the risk of exposure to contaminated heroin for people who inject drugs persists and accidental contamination is the most plausible explanation. Further infections among people who inject drugs cannot be excluded.

In week 30, no new cases have been reported in an outbreak of Salmonella Stanley in Belgium, Germany and Hungary. Outbreak investigations are on-going in all three countries and pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) profiling that found indistinguishable profiles in the strains suggests a common source which has not yet been identified. ECDC has published a risk assessment which concludes that according to the available information further cases might occur but the impact for public health at the EU level is considered to be limited.

The 2012 transmission season of the West Nile fever virus in Europe has now started with so far 13 notified cases (seven probable and six confirmed) in the European Union (EU) and 20 reported in EU neighbouring countries. Greece reported seven new cases in the Attiki and in Evvoia regions. Italy is currently investigating a first case reported from Oristano, Sardegna. West Nile fever in humans is a notifiable disease in the EU. The implementation of control measures by the national health authorities are considered important – to ensure blood safety when human cases of West Nile fever occur. As of 20 July 2012, ECDC has enhanced its surveillance activities for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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