Communicable disease threats report, 19-25 January 2014, week 4

Surveillance report
Publication series: Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR)
Time period covered: 19 - 25 January 2014

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 ECDC Communicable Disease Threats Report is a weekly bulletin intended for epidemiologists and health professionals in the area of communicable disease prevention and control. This issue covers the period of 19-25 January 2014 and focuses on the following:

Influenza season in Europe 

During the third week of 2014, Bulgaria, Greece, Portugal and Spain reported medium intensity of influenza activity. Of 1 401 sentinel specimens tested across 27 countries, 447 (32%) were positive for influenza virus. Dominant viruses were reported by Bulgaria, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the UK (Scotland) which reported A(H1)pdm09 virus to be the dominant, while Slovenia reported A(H3) to be dominant.The season of active influenza transmission has started in EU/EEA countries as of week 2 of 2014.

Chikungunya in the Caribbean 

Eight new cases of chikungunya have been reported: seven on the Dutch part of Saint Martin and one in Dominica. Epidemiological data indicate that the outbreak that started in Saint Martin (FR) is expanding. The vector is endemic in the region, where it also transmits the dengue virus. Clinicians, travel clinics and blood safety authorities should be vigilant about the possible occurrence of imported cases of chikungunya among tourists returning from the Caribbean to the EU.

Influenza A(H7N9) in China 

Between 17 and 23 January, a total of 37 new cases of A(H7N9) infection have been reported by local authorities in China as follows: Zhejiang (23), Guangdong (six), Jiangsu (one), Shanghai (four) and Fujian (three). Since the first detection of the virus in March last year, 225 cases of human infection with influenza A(H7N9) have been reported. Most cases have developed severe respiratory disease. Fifty-five patients have died.

Zika virus infection outbreak in French Polynesia

A total of 62 new Zika virus infections have been reported as well as several new cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome, meningo-encephalitis and one new case of neurological complication. The outbreak seems to be declining in most affected islands in French Polynesia. New Caledonia, another French Overseas territory, reported the first autochthonous infection with Zika virus on 21 January following increased monitoring of passengers arriving from French Polynesia. Since the beginning of the outbreak in October 2013, approximately 26 000 cases sought medical care with Zika-like symptoms. No deaths or hospitalisations for acute infection were reported.