Communicable disease threats report, 14-18 October 2013, week 42

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 current West Nile fever (WNF) season is progressing in comparable fashion to previous years both in the European Union (EU) and in its neighbouring countries. As of 17 October 2013, 221 human WNF cases had been reported in the EU and 511 cases in neighbouring countries since the beginning of the 2013 transmission season.

During week 42, two new cases of WNF were detected in Italy - one each in the Treviso and Verona provinces. In EU neighbouring countries, two cases were reported by Montenegro in the Podgorica region. See also the latest update on ECDC’s weekly West Nile fever maps.

Cholera outbreak in Mexico

An ongoing outbreak of cholera in Mexico has resulted in 159 reported cases, including one death, since August 2013. This is the first sustained autochthonous transmission of cholera recorded since the 1991-2001 endemic period. In total, five provinces are affected: the Federal District (2 cases), the state of Hidalgo (145), the state of Mexico (9), the state of San Luis Potosi (1 case) and the state of Veracruz.

Travellers to Mexico and other countries in the region affected by cholera (Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Haiti) should be aware of preventive hygiene measures and seek advice from travel medicine clinics prior to their departure, in order to assess their personal risk. In addition, physicians in the European Union should consider the diagnosis of cholera in returning travellers from these countries presenting with compatible symptoms. Upon diagnosis, notification to the relevant public health authorities is essential.

 Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

Between 11 and 17 October 2013, there was one new MERS-CoV case reported, from Qatar. So far, 142 laboratory-confirmed cases of MERS-CoV have been recorded worldwide, including 62 deaths. All cases have either occurred in the Middle East or have had direct links to a primary case infected in the Middle East.
The risk of secondary transmission in the EU remains low and could be reduced further through screening for exposure among patients presenting with respiratory symptoms and their contacts, and strict implementation of infection prevention and control measures for patients under investigation.