Communicable disease threats report, 18-24 August 2013, week 34
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.
From 18 to 23 August 2013, ECDC monitored several ongoing public health threats within and outside the European Union.
West Nile fever
Between 16 and 22 August 2013, 12 new cases of West Nile fever (WNF) were detected in the European Union (EU): 9 from Greece and 3 from Italy. In EU neighbouring countries, 57 new cases were reported: 7 from Israel, 1 from Montenegro, 17 from Russia and 32 from Serbia. See also ECDC’s latest West Nile Fever update.
In Israel, wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) was isolated from 68 sewage samples. No cases of paralytic polio have been reported. See also ECDC’s epidemiological update from 21 August 2013.
Israel has been free of indigenous WPV transmission since 1988. In the past, wild poliovirus has been detected in environmental samples collected in Israel without occurrence of cases of paralytic polio. A supplementary immunisation activity (SIA) with bivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV1 and 3) started in parts of southern Israel during the week of 5 August 2013, and was expanded nationwide on 18 August for all children up to the age of nine years.
The World Health Organization estimates the risk of further international spread of WPV1 from Israel to remain moderate to high. ECDC is currently preparing an assessment on the situation considering a possible risk of importation of wild poliovirus to the EU, and the risk of transmission within the EU.
Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS CoV)
Since 17 August 2013, seven new cases of MERS CoV have been reported by national health authorities. Six cases were reported in Saudi Arabia, bringing the number of cases reported in Saudi Arabia to 80. Two patients died in Saudi Arabia. One new case was reported by the Qatar health authorities on 20 August 2013. The cases reported since 17 August have not yet been acknowledged by the World Health Organization. The reservoir for MERS CoV has not yet been established, nor is it clear how transmission occurs.