Communicable Disease Threats Report - 17 May 2013

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. The CDTR for Week 20 was replaced on 21 May 2013.

Executive summary

The CDTR reports this week on an ongoing outbreak of hepatitis A virus (HAV) affecting individuals from various northern countries in the EU. Since the beginning of the outbreak on 1 October 2012 until 17 May 2013 a total of 85 cases were reported, of which 34 are confirmed. No cases have travel history outside of the EU during their potential exposure period. The source of the outbreak has not yet been identified but preliminary investigations point to frozen berries as the vehicle of infection. Public health authorities in the affected countries and ECDC are actively collaborating to identify the vehicle of the infection in order to prevent the occurrence of additional cases.

Between April 2012 and 16 May 2013, 40 laboratory-confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), including 20 deaths, have been notified. All cases worldwide remain associated (including indirect association following secondary person-to-person transmission in the UK and France) with transmission in the Arabian Peninsula. ECDC published an update of its risk assessment on 17 May. ECDC is closely monitoring the situation in collaboration with the World Health Organization and the European Union Member States.