Communicable disease threats report, 15-21 July, week 29
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.
Five cases of anthrax in injecting drug users (IDUs) have been reported in the EU since June 2012: three in Germany, one in Denmark, and one in France. One German case and the case from Denmark have died. The strain from these cases is reported to be almost identical to the strain from the 2009-2010 outbreak that mostly affected Scotland. The conclusions of the rapid risk assessment published by ECDC and EMCDDA in February 2010 are still valid: the risk of exposure to contaminated heroin for IDUs remains present and accidental contamination seems the most plausible explanation.
Transmission of West Nile virus in Europe has now started for the 2012 season, with six cases reported so far in Greece, seven cases in Russia, and five cases in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. On 13 July, ECDC updated its rapid risk assessment concerning the epidemiological situation of West Nile virus infection in the European Union. Likewise, ECDC produces weekly West Nile fever risk maps to inform blood safety authorities regarding affected areas.
Two cases of probable autochthonous transmission of Plasmodium vivax malaria were reported by Greece on 22 June and 17 July 2012. Control measures have been put in place in accordance with local guidelines. These reports and the current temperature and entomological indicators suggest that local transmission of malaria has started. ECDC is carefully monitoring the situation in Greece and is coordinating with the Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (KEELPNO) in order to remain up to date on current epidemiological and entomological findings. ECDC prepared an epidemiological update.
No major health events were reported this week through the enhanced surveillance for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The information gathered through epidemic intelligence activities concerning health events or public health measures relevant for the Games is grouped geographically by UK (as host country), Europe and rest of world.